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Full text of "The Creative Woman"

54.00 



rheCreatrdcVJoman 




VISIONS AND CONNECTIONS: 1492 - 1992 



WINTER/SPRING 1992 




Volume 12, No. 1, Winter/Spring 1992 



The 
/Creatine 
woman Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466 



3193 



Published under the auspices of the provosts office, 
© 1 992 governors state university and helen hughes 



ISSN 0736 - 4733 



STAFF 

Helen E. Hughes, Editor 
Suzanne Oliver, Art Director 
Barbara Conant, Library Resources 
Nirmalo Grutzius, Business Manager 
Lynne Hostetter, Word Processing 
Linda Kuester, Word Processing 
Priscilla Rockwell, Editorial Consultant 
Emily Wasiolek, Editorial Consultant 
Sally Petrilli, Editorial Consultant 



EDITORIAL BOARD 

Glenda Bailey-Mershon, Illinois NOW/National Organization for Women, Oak Park, IL 

Donna Bandstra, Healthgroup International, Sherman Oaks, CA 

Margaret Brady, Social Sciences, Homewood, IL 

Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Society of Ponoma Valley, CA 

Rita Durrant, League of American Pemoomen, Doylestown, PA 

Deborah Garretson, Counseling, Muncie, IN 

Temmie Gilbert, Theatre/ Media, Governors State University 

Linda Grace-Kobas, Journalism, University of Buffalo, NY 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/Women's Studies, Governors State University 

Helene N. Guttman, Biological Sciences, Bethesda, MD 

Bethe Hagens, Anthropology, Governors State University 

Barbara Jenkins, Psychology, Governors State University 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, CA 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, PA 

Rev. Lynn Thomas Strauss, Religion.Women's Studies/Parenting, Knoxville, TN 



PAGE TABLE OF CONTENTS 



3 Introduction. Visions and Connections: 1492-1992 HEH 

5 The Ways of Two Worlds Clara Sue Kidwell 

12 The Meaning of Meat Edward Searle 

16 Women and War Barbara M. Conant 

21 The Peace Cranes Are Flying Mint Neal 

23 Dancing Shawna Craig 

24 Janet Cowser, Photographer 

In Nature, Herself Commentary by Jay Boersma 

25 Artist's Statement Janet Cowser 

29 Poetry, Grandmother Georgeann Eskivich Rettberg 

30 Mending Heads Mary Carroll 

34 Mornings with Great-grandfather Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg 

35 In No One's Arms Kim Meilicke 

A Writer, Eppis Barbara Foster 

36 Nine Months Florence McGinn 

Spring Planting With My Daughter Florence McGinn 

37 Diary Entry 8/9/89 Louise Budde DeLaurentis 

To His Bones, In The House Shrine Lisa Yount 

38 Book Review, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women Reviewed by Margaret S. Matchett 

40 Book Review, Women For All Seasons: Poetry and Prose About Transitions in Women 's Lives 
Reviewed by Terri L.Jewell 

41 Letters To The Editor 

44 Ads 

45 Guest Editorial, America's Number One Safety Problem: 

Violence Against Women Riane Eisler 




The Creative Woman Is published three times a year by Governors 
State University. We focus on a special topic in each issue, presented 
from a feminist perspective. We celebrate the creative achievements of 
women in many fields and appeal to inquiring minds. We publish 
fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, photography and original graphics. 



Cover: Photograph by Janet Cowser 





INTRODUCTION 





VISIONS AND CONNECTIONS: 

1492-1992 



A little girl is crying and cannot be consoled; an 
adult has just told her that, although there are 
many things she can do and be when she grows up, 
an American Indian is not one of them. That little 
girl, (a distant relative, Marjorie Child) echoes a 
strange, deep American grief. Carl Jung wrote that 
he had never analyzed an American who did not 
have an American Indian component in the psyche. 
The child's disappointment was not just the broken 
fantasy of an imaginative child; rather, it is an 
expression of some aspect of our national psyche. 
What is that about? 

When English missionary Thomas Mayhew 
preached Christianity to the Indians on Martha's 
Vineyard in the mid 1600s, they all stood together 
in a circle in the forest: who converted whom? 

In this issue we are not going to re-tell the tales of 
tears, of the Trails of Tears, of the small-pox in- 
fected gift blankets, massacres, genocide, or na- 
tional shame. We are going to try to recapture the 
vision and find the connections: "Holy Mother 
Earth, the trees and all nature are witnesses of your 
thoughts and deeds." That's a Winnebago saying; it 
could have been Henry David Thoreau or John 
Muir. 

What is the vision? How it could be? How it ought 
to be? How to make things whole? The vision of 
the city of equality, justice, harmony, reverence for 
life and peace? What part of our national dream 
has evolved from the Native peoples? (or our 
imaginative projections onto them)? How do we 
relate to animals? (read Ed Searle). How are human 
rights values connected to the anti-war or the peace 
movement? (read Barbara Conant and Mim Neal 
on our relations with Japan, read Mary Carroll's 
story). 

Against this background of (largely unconscious) 
national obsession, as we struggle to mature as a 
civilization, out of the bloody past, it would be well 
to bring to conscious awareness the contributions 
of the indigenous peoples. While it may be easy to 
feel vicarious rage and misery on their behalf, the 
important thing is to incorporate and integrate the 



meaning of the original spirits of this land (read — 
and I do mean read — the photographs of Janet 
Cowser). Maybe we do have a manifest destiny! 
Maybe it is to rediscover that this land and its 
resources require relationships of balance. What 
"vanishing Indian?" She is alive and well and 
steering us toward our future. The spirit that 
survived 300 years of war is unquenchable; it may 
be that if we attend and honor these ways, 
thoughts and traditions, the nation may be re- 
deemed. 



The Newberry Library 

60 West Walton Street 

Chicago, Illinois 60610 

312/943-9090 

January 18-April 18, 1992 

AMERICA IN 1492 

•ABRiL 

CMHHCAPA 



M* 




An Exhibition of Books and Manuscripts Portraying 
American Civilization on the Eve of the Columbus Voyages 



Let no one doubt that redemption is needed — in 
the system of justice? (read Riane Eisler who writes 
the editor's column in this issue) in the process of 
Congressional hearings? (read Betty Ticho's letter 
to Senator Simpson) Where are we today? (read 
Margaret Matchett on Backlash). 

Two related events mark this first month of the 
quincentennial: the Newberry Library in Chicago 
has mounted a major exhibit on "America in 1492." 
It is not about discovery, encounter or conquest — it 
displays the rich civilizations that existed here in 
1492, in books, artifacts and manuscripts and offers 
guided tours, lectures, posters and special training 
sessions for educators. Concurrently, comes the 
publication by Alfred A. Knopf of America in 1492: 
The World of the Indian Peoples Before the Arrival of 
Columbus, edited by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. This is a 
rich, fascinating book by specialists and scholars, 
Indian and non-Indian, on hunters in the Arctic, 
societies of the Plains, farming communities of the 
Eastern Woodlands, the Inca Empire; it lays before 
the reader worlds of religious forms and languages, 
organization of societies and systems of knowl- 
edge. Clara Sue Kidwell, historian of science, 



whom readers will remember as guest editor of our 
special issue on the Native American Woman, is 
the author of an impressive chapter on "Systems of 
Knowledge," which she has adapted for us as our 
lead article for this issue. With pride we invite you 
to discover the archeoastronomy and plant tax- 
onomy of this hemisphere; and to look for the 
connections. 

Frederick Hoxie, Director of the Center for the 
American Indian at the Newberry Library, says, 
"The important thing about the quincentennial is 
not Christopher Columbus, but coming to terms 
with our heritage." Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the 
Cherokee Nation (250,000 members) says, "We 
could all go through 1992 being upset and being 
angry. I don't think that would accomplish any- 
thing. This year is an opportunity to educate people 
about history." 

Revive the vision. 

Find the connections. 



HEH 




Indians panning for gold as depicted by Gonzola Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes in 1547. This aboriginal practice 
obviously attracted wide attention and inflamed European greed. The man on the right hoes up gravel, while the 
figure in the middle carries a basin of gravel to the stream. On the left, a man pans for the heavier particles of gold, 
which settle in the bottom of his basin. 



THE WAYS OF TWO WORLDS 



Clara Sue Kidwell 

In the late fall of 1492, two men watched the skies 
with particular interest. On the bridge of the Santa 
Maria, Christopher Columbus looked to the heav- 
ens and relied on sextants and astrolabes to plot his 
position on the vast Pacific in relation to the sun 
and the stars. In the new world, a Hopi man left 
his home before dawn on a clear, cold morning and 
walked to a rise of land near his village, where he 
settled himself at the top of the rise to watch the 
sun make its first appearance above the eastern 
horizon. 

The Hopi Sun Watcher and Christopher Columbus 
had something in common — a desire to know what 
the future would bring. For Columbus, his calcula- 
tions and his beliefs told him that India lay ahead. 
For the Hopi, the progress of the sun along the 
solstice point indicated the timing of ceremonies 
that would assure that the sun would turn back in 
his path and reverse his journey across the sky so 
that the seasons would change and the corn crops 
would grow. His observations timed the perfor- 
mance of the Soyal ceremony, which helped the 
Sun regain his strength and begin his journey back 
to his northern house. It also marked the yearly 
appearance of the Katchina spirits, who bring rain 
and fertile crops and are an essential part of Hopi 
life. His observations also predict the time of the 
last killing frost so that planting may begin. The 
Sun Watcher knows where the sun will rise, but he 
can also tell where the moon stands in relation to 
the sun during the year, and whether it will be 
early or late in following the sun in a month. 

The ability to predict the outcome of events is an 
essential aspect of science in the modern world. It 
was, and is, crucial to the continuation of the Hopi 
world. The comparison between Columbus and 
the Hopi reveals basic similarities and differences 
between the world views of the Old World and the 
New. Columbus was a product of a European 
intellectual tradition of rational inquiry. He did not 
doubt that the world was round; he simply mis- 
judged his distances and didn't know about the 
land mass that stood in the way of his passage to 
India. He probably continued to believe that he 
had discovered India, even if he did not find the 



great cities and wealth that he expected. The Hopi 
man believed that his world was bounded by four 
sacred directions, and that his actions were neces- 
sary for it to continue. 

Although the ways of understanding the natural 
environment might have differed, both Europeans 
and native people had similar ends in view — to be 
able to control the outcome of events in the world 
around them. Both relied on systematic observa- 
tion of physical phenomena to be able to predict 
future events. 

But European and native world views diverged on 
the importance of uniformity in nature. A. Irving 
Hallowell, an anthropologist working in northern 
Canada in the 1930's, asked a Saulteaux man "Are 
all the stones we see around us alive?" and after the 
man had thought about the question a while he 
replied, "No, but some are." To the contemporary 
scientist, it is the "all" that is important, a law of 
nature. To the Saulteaux, it is the "some", those 
rocks that people see moving of their own volition, 
speaking to people, or otherwise acting in an 
unusual way. ' 

Native people nevertheless recognized similarities, 
and they had ways of classifying things in the 
physical world, although their categories diverge 
significantly from the Western Linnean plant 
classification system. The Navajo characterized 
plants as male and female, depending on character- 
istics such as size and hardness or softness of stems 
and foliage. The system was based on analogy to 
personality traits distinguishing men and women 
rather than on the idea of physical sexual character- 
istics of plants. 2 

The Aztecs used three major categories of plants: 
trees (quauhtli), bushes (quaquauhzin), and herbs 
(jxihuitl). Plants names generally include a word or 
suffix that indicated whether they were food 
(quilitl), ornamental (yochitl), medicinal (path), or 
economic, plants used for building, clothing, or 
material objects, for which a number of suffixes 
were used. 3 

The Thompson Indians of British Columbia named 
some plants according to medicinal use, as 
ilie'litu'nEl, "Cough medicine," or cuxcuxuza, 
"grizzly bear berry," one eaten by grizzly bears. 
They also recognized that certain plants generally 
grew together, and their names indicated that they 
were companions. For example, the woodbetony 



(Pedicularis bracteosa) was used in basketmaking. It 
was sometimes found with species of willow weed 
(Epilobium), and the Thompson expressed this in its 
name skikens a. sha'ket, meaning "companion of 
willow weed." 4 

The Navajo put bats in the same category as insects 
because of an origin tradition in which insects and 
bats lived together in a previous world. The bad- 
ger was classified with the wolf, mountain lion, 
bobcat and lynx (which were grouped as predatory 
animals) because he was their friend. 5 

The native and European world views diverged in 
the matter of experimentation. For Western sci- 
ence, nature is governed by laws, and similar 




FfBF 



Idealized picture of a cliff dwelling by a nineteenth-century 
American anthropologist includes a tower kiva from which 
observations of the movements of heavenly bodies were made. 



actions will always lead to similar results. The 
proof of a scientific hypothesis is in its power to 
predict the outcome of a set of circumstances 
controlled by the experimenter. For Native people, 
human relationships with spiritual forces governed 
the world. The Hopi Soyal ceremony made the sun 
turn in his path. It would be unthinkable to fail to 
perform it to see whether it worked. 

Both world views valued systematic observation of 
nature, and particularly of the heavens. In Europe 
in 1492, The Earth was still the center of the uni- 
verse (the Copernican sun-centered universe was 
not promulgated until 1543). Observations were 
oriented toward the movements of planets against 
the background of the fixed stars with their distinc- 
tive patterns that constituted the zodiac. 

In the New World, the horizon was the most 
important marker. 6 Throughout North and South 
America, people built structures that aligned with 
certain points on the horizon to allow for observa- 
tion of regularly recurring phenomena. In the ruins 
of pueblos dating back to at least 1100 A.D. in the 
southwest, Casa Rinconanda, a large circular kiva 
(a semi- underground chamber for ceremonial 
activities) in the Chaco Canyon region in eastern 
New Mexico, has 28 indentations around its perim- 
eter and four specially placed niches. At the time 
of the summer solstice, the rising sun cast its first 
light directly upon one of the niches. 7 

Some of the curiously placed corner windows of 
the ruins of Pueblo Bonita in Chaco Canyon may be 
observation sites for solstices or other celestial 
phenomena. 8 On Fajada Butte, near the large 
pueblo ruins in the Canyon, three large rock slabs 
rest on a small outcropping and lean against the 
side of the butte. On the day of the summer sol- 
stice, a thin dagger of light passes through the exact 
center of a spiral design carved into the butte's side 
behind the rocks. At the winter solstice, two 
daggers just graze the sides of the spiral. Whether 
the placement of the stone slabs is deliberate or 
accidental, the spiral in the rock is definitely of 
human origin, and the conjunction of light and 
shadow with the spiral make the sun dagger a 
solstice marker. 9 

On a bluff on the side of the Big Horn mountains in 
Wyoming is a Medicine Wheel which both pre- 
dicted and marked the summer solstice. It consists 
of a circle of stones some four meters in diameter, 
with twenty-eight spokes radiating from a central 



cairn and five stone cairns placed around the 
outside of the circle. The solstice sun rises at a point 
along a sight line from one of the outer cairns 
across the middle cairn. Other sight lines along the 
spokes of the wheel point approximately to points 
of rising of the bright stars Rigel and Aldabaran, 
which precede the solstice by a matter of weeks. 10 

The Pleiades were another predictor of future 
events. They appear in the sky in the fall and 
remain there in the northern hemisphere until the 
spring, when they disappear below the horizon. 
The dates of their first and last appearance depend 
upon the latitude of the observer; however, their 
first presence generally corresponds with time of 
the first killing frost, and they remain in the sky 
until about the time of the last frost. They are a 
distinctive marker of planting time for agricultural- 
ists. At approximately 42° north latitude, the 
Seneca communities in up-state New York ob- 
served first rising of the Pleiades by the middle of 
October. They timed the beginning of their tradi- 
tional Mid-winter ceremony by the passage of the 
Pleiades directly above the central longhouse of 
their villages in early February, and it predicted the 
beginning of their planting season. The Pleiades 
disappeared from the night sky in about mid-May. 
The type of corn grown by the Seneca required 
approximately 120 days of frost-free weather to 
appear and mature. The zenith passage of the 
Pleiades in mid-February marks the mid-point of 
the frost season. The disappearance of the Pleiades 
from the sky around May 5 to 19 and their reap- 
pearance around October 10 to 15 encompass a 
period of 153 to 163 days, a comfortable margin for 
the growth of corn. " 

The Pleiades were observed by agricultural people 
throughout North America, and various stories 
were told about their origins. A charming story 
from the Sac and Fox tribe tells about six brothers 
and the youngest brother's little dog, who were 
hunting one day. They began to chase a particu- 
larly large and strong buffalo. As they pursued the 
beast they suddenly realized that they had left the 
earth and were running up to the sky. But it was 
too late to stop, and so they must continue the 
chase forever. The six bright stars of the Pleiades 
are the six brothers, and the faint, seventh star is 
the youngest hunter's little dog. 12 The story ex- 
plains an aspect of the physical world in a way 
much different than that of European science. 



The Aztecs observed the Pleiades for a different but 
equally important reason. When the Pleiades 
passed directly overhead at midnight in the final 
year of the 52-year cycle called the Calendar 
Round, the ceremony named toxiuhmolpilia, or 
"binding of the years," occurred. The ceremony 
bound the two cycles of the Aztec calendar system. 
One was a sacred calendar of 260 days (the tzoltin) 
formed by the interlocking of a series of 20 named 
days (as we name the days of the week), and a 
series of 13 numbers (as we count 29, 30 or 31 days 
in a month.) This year is unique among calendar 
systems. It may derive from an origin at the city of 
Copan, which is at approximately 20° north latitude 
where the sun passes directly overhead two times a 
year at an interval of 260 days. 13 Its purpose in the 
lives of the Maya was, and remains, its astrological 
significance. 14 It may be related to the 260 day 
gestation period of the human female, or to the 
base 20 numerical system of the Maya. 15 The 
second cycle corresponded roughly to a solar year, 
with 18 named months each consisting of 20 num- 
bered days and five days at the end, which were of 
special religious significance. It was not corrected 
with a leap year and so gained time on the seasons 
and is generally called the Vague Year. Its purpose 
was not to keep time for planting seasons. Rather, 
the Mayan calendar followed progressions of days 
through cycles, and the Vague Year's purpose was 
more likely to mark certain ceremonial or political 
events. 

Like two interlocking gears, the 260 day tzoltin and 
the 365 day year began at one point and revolved 
against each other until that same point was 
reached. It took 18,980 days (or 52 years) to com- 
plete this cycle, which was known as the calendar 
round. The round gave a unique identity to each 
day in the cycle, and it made it possible to record 
unique historical events. 16 

The coincidence of the two ceremonial cycles and 
the Pleiades occasioned the toxiuhmolpilia. It was a 
renewal ceremony, marked by sweeping and 
cleaning and disposing of rubbish, and putting out 
of old fires, a ceremonial procession to a temple in 
the city of Tenochtitlan, and the kindling of a new 
fire in the chest cavity of a human sacrificial victim, 
whose heart had been cut out. New fires were then 
lit throughout the empire, and the Aztecs were 
assured that their world would continue. 17 



Any calendar system is based on long term obser- 
vation. At Chichen Itza (a site in the Yucatan 
dating to about 800 A.D.) a curiously shaped and 
partially ruined tower, the Caracol, resembles a 
modern astronomical observatory. 18 Shafts in the 
wall of the tower aligned with the vernal and 
autumnal equinoxes. The alignments also corre- 
spond to the further northernmost and southern- 
most helical rising of the planet Venus, (the term 
helical refers to the appearance of the star in the 
sky just before sunrise). 19 The Maya called Venus 
noh ek (great star) and choc ek (red star), and they 
knew that Venus completed its orbit around the 
sun in 584 days, although the concept of physical 
bodies spinning in endless space was probably 
foreign to them. Venus was a deity, to be not only 
observed but prayed to and propitiated with 
sacrifices. They knew it as the morning star for 236 
days, invisible then for a period of 90 days, as the 
evening star for 250 days, and invisible again for a 
period of eight days. 20 

The importance of Venus reflected some reality 
other than purely physical observation. It served as 
a marker for ceremonial or political events. 21 The 
Maya also observed the cycles of the moon and 
could predict its periodic eclipses. ** They recorded 
their observations in a sophisticated mathematical 
system in base-20. Their markers were dots for 1-4 
and a bar for 5. Powers were indicated by the 
placement of sets of dots and bars, higher powers 
being indicated by groups of dots and bars written 
one above the other. They had a special symbol for 
zero. There is no evidence that the Maya used their 
system for multiplication or division, but it was 
capable of dealing with extremely large numbers. 23 

The Inca used quipus to store information. A quipu 
is composed of a number of strings, with knots tied 
in patterns on a series of strings that hang from a 
main cord, and some of those strings may in turn 
have dependent strings. The strings are often of 
different colors, which recur in sequences. On each 
is a series of knots, again tied in distinct groups. If 
one views the quipu as an elaborate coding device, 
perhaps analogous to a Chinese abacus, it is obvi- 
ous that the variables of color sequences, number of 
knots, number of dependent strings and patterns of 
knots could serve to record a tremendous amount 
of information. If the quipu is a very sophisticated 
code, the problem is that no one has yet broken it. 
There is no rosetta stone to provide a translation to 




The chief auditor and treasurer of the Incas holding a 
quipu. Drawing by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala. 



the meaning of quipus into a language recognizable 
to European based science. 24 

The quipu may have its larger analogy in Incan 
culture in a system of geographical locations 
encoding observations of celestial phenomena. 
Around the city of Cuzco were 328 huacas, or 
shrines, which were aligned in 41 directions along 
ceques, or lines radiating out from the Temple of the 
Sun and reaching to the horizon. Although the 
numbers varied somewhat, there were about 8 
shrines along each ceque. This system might func- 
tion like a giant quipu laid over the city. One could 
imagine the ceques as strings radiating from a 
central knot, and the huacas as knots on each string. 
This imaginary quipu then divided time into units 
because the arc of distance on the horizon between 
any two lines was traversed in a set time, and the 
system might work as a calendar which organized 
the space around the city into political units be- 



cause certain groups had responsibilities for cer- 
emonies during each arc of time. B 

The system of ceques and huacas, with its values of 
41 and 328, obviously does not correspond to the 
365 1\4 day solar year of modern astronomy, but 
they do correspond to parts of the lunar year. The 
moon is as important a marker of time as the sun 
because of its waxing and waning. In the tropics, 
the sun moves relatively little across the horizon 
from season to season, and the moon's waxing and 
waning were more dramatic and more important 
markers of time. Two Inca textiles may, like 
quipus, record space and time. One has an ar- 
rangement of elements that add up to 365, the 
approximate solar year, and the second has rect- 
angles in groups of 28, which is close to the average 
number of days (29.5) in a lunar month. 26 From the 
evidence of ceques , huacas, and textiles, it appears 
that the Inca year was based on lunar months. 27 

Like cloth, metal encoded meaning. The Incas were 
superb goldsmiths. They beat gold into thin foil 
which they used to plate objects that thereby 
achieved particular cultural importance. But their 
most significant technique involved smelting an 
alloy of gold, silver and copper called tumbaga. The 
ingot was then beaten and annealed many times. 
Each annealing created copper oxide which was 
removed with a salt solution. By progressively 
removing the copper, the process brought the gold 
to the surface of the increasingly thin sheet metal. 
The silver was then removed with a paste of iron 
sulfate and salt. The gold remained in a granular 
state at the surface of the metal sheet, and it was 
heated and burnished to produce the golden 
surface characteristic of Andean metal work. The 
technique destroyed most of the original alloy but 
imbued the object with special meaning. The 
golden object became a metaphor for spiritual and 
political power. Camay, a term used in metal 
working, was the act of infusing life spirit into an 
inanimate object. Metallurgy was the power to 
transform the very essence of material and imbue it 
with religious significance, an inner form that was 
more important than the outer form. 28 

Agriculture was the most important practical 
relationship with nature that developed in the new 
world. It was based on the power to observe and 
predict events and to control their outcomes. 
Indians selected certain plants and controlled their 
environments through fire and water. They altered 



them and made them dependent upon human 
action for reproduction. 29 In the Andes, Indians 
domesticated a rather amazing 3,000 varieties of 
potatoes. 30 In the northeastern part of North 
America Indians domesticated sunflowers, 
sumpweed, goosefoot, Maygrass, and Giant Rag- 
weed. These plants today are considered weeds 
because of their ability to withstand a wide range 
of environmental conditions. 31 The Jerusalem 
Artichoke, the root of the sunflower, was another 
important food source. 32 In the southwest, 
squashes, gourds and tepary beans were culti- 
vated. 33 Corn became the major food source for 
many native groups throughout North and South 
America. It is descended from teosinte, a wild 
grass. The primary source of food energy in plants 
is the seed. Wild plants reproduce by being able to 
scatter their seeds freely. Humans collecting seeds 
want them to stay in one place and gather plants 
whose seeds stay attached to the plant, but because 
humans must then remove the seeds from the 
plants, the plants become dependent on humans to 
disperse the seeds so they can reproduce. 
Teosinte's seed cases modified into rigid containers 
under human selection. M The Hopi further modi- 
fied corn by selecting seeds adapted to the arid 
growing conditions of their mesas. They put down 
very long tap roots to reach down to the underly- 
ing subsurface moisture, and the seedling grew a 
long way to break the soil before putting out its 
first leaves. 35 

The list of crops cultivated in the new world in 
1492 includes sweet potatoes, cocoa, pumpkins, 
squashes, peanuts, avocados, pineapple, chile 
peppers, and jicama. x 

Sophisticated irrigation systems made agriculture 
possible in some arid regions. 37 The Chaco River, 
actually a seasonally flowing stream, cut Chaco 
canyon, which became a major population center 
from about 920 to 1020A.D. The inhabitants built 
large pueblos, of which Pueblo Bonito is probably 
the best known. Earthen walls were faced with 
stone. Pueblo Bonito had about 800 rooms and rose 
to five stories in some parts. Crops were planted 
on the narrow flood plain of the stream. Water also 
collected in natural basins along the rim of the 
canyon, and runoff from rainfall was channelled 
down the sides of the canyon. By about 900, how- 
ever, the river cut its way deeply into the canyon 
bottom and became so entrenched that it wouldn't 
flood. The inhabitants of the canyon then build 



earthen dams to contain the stream, diversion walls 
and canals to bring the water to the fields, and 
sluice gates to control the flow. M 

The remains of nine major pueblo towns are lo- 
cated along a nine mile stretch of lower Chaco 
Wash. In the surrounding area there were four 
smaller pueblos ranging from 30 to 100 rooms and 
at least 50 small villages of 10 to 20 rooms. The 
population was close to 10,000 people. 39 During 
the great building phase in Chaco Canyon, from 
about 1020 A.D. to about 1120 A.D., perhaps 
100,000 pine trees were cut for building and fire 
wood. After 1120, however, virtually no new 
building took place, and by about 1220, the popula- 
tion of the canyon had drifted away, and the towns 
and villages were virtually abandoned. The most 
likely explanation is a great drought in the San Juan 
River basin that lasted from 1130 to 1190. Although 
the water control systems in Chaco Canyon were 
sophisticated, they could not deal with a severe and 
extended dry period. Technology had its limits. a 

American scientists now look to the uncharted 
reaches of space to determine the future of the 
universe. Hopi sun watchers still sight the 
progress of the sun along the horizon before the 
winter solstice, observing its points of rising by 
markers such as hill tops, valleys, and the point of 
rising over the roof of the Hopi Cultural Center on 
Second Mesa. Systematic observation characterizes 
both activities. Scientists theorize about the future. 
The Hopi know how it will turn out. 



NOTES 

1. A. Irving Hallowell, "Ojibwa Metaphysics of Being and the 
Perception of Persons," in Person Perception and Interpersonal Behavior, 
ed. Renato Taquiri and Luigi Petrullo (Stanford: Stanford University 
Press, 1953), 

2. Leland Clifton Wyman & Stuart K. Harris, Navajo Indian Medical 
Ethnobotany, University of New Mexico Bulletin, Anthropological 
Series, Vol. 3, no. 5 (1941) 

3. The de la Cruz-Badiano Aztec Herbal of 1552, trans. William Gates 
(Baltimore: The Maya Society, 1939), p. xvii; Emily Walcott Emmart, 
The Badianus Manuscript (Baltimore The Johns Hopkins Press, 1941; 
Francisco Guerra, "Aztec Science and Technology," History of Science, 
viii(1969),41. 

4. Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, based on Field 
Notes by James A. Teit, edited by Elsie Viault Steedman, Forty-Fifth 
Annual Reportofthe Bureau of American ethnology 1927- 28 (Washington, 
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1930), pp. 450-51, 468, 500. 

5. Gladys A. Reichard, "Navajo Classification of Natural Objects," 
Plateau, XXI, No. 1 (July, 1948), pp. 7-8. 

6. Aveni, Anthony, ed., Native American Astronomy (Austin: University 
of Texas Press, 1977) p. xiv. 

7. Ray A. Williamson, Howard J. Fisher, Abigail F. Williamson, and 
Clarion Cochran, The Astronomical Record in Chaco Canyon, New 

10 



Mexico," in Archaeoastronomy in Pre-Columbian America, edited by 
Anthony F. Aveni (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1975), p. 36; 
Anthony F. Aveni, Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, (Austin: University of 
Texas Press, 1 980) p. 293. 

8. Jonathan E. Reyman, "Astronomy, Architecture and Adaptation at 
Pueblo Bonito," Science, cxciii, no. 4257 (September 10, 1976), 957-62. 

9. Anna Sofaer, Wolker Zinser, and Rolf M. Sinclair, "A Unique Solar 
Marking Construct," Science, 206, no. 4416, (19 October 1979), 283/ 91. 

10. J. A. Eddy, "Astronomical Alignment of the Big Hom Medicine 
Wheel," Science, 184 (June 7, 1984), 1035-43. 

11. Lynn Cesi, "Watchers of the Pleiades: Ethnoastronomy Among 
Native Cultivators in Northeastern North America,", Ethnohistory, 25, 
no. 4 (Fall, 1978), 306-308. 

12. Alice Marriott and Carol K. Rachlin, American Indian Mythology, 
(New York CrowelL 1968). 

13. Vincent H. Malmstrom, "A Reconstruction of the Chronology of 
Mesoamerican Calendrical Systems," Journal of the History of 
Astronomy, 10 (1978), 105-116. 

14 See Barbara Tedlock, Time and the Highland Maya (Albuquerque: 
University of New Mexico Press, 1982). 

15. Aveni, Skywatchers, p. 148. 

16. Lounsbury, p. 765. 

17. E. C. Krupp, "The 'Binding of the Years,' The Pleiades and the 
Nadir Sun,", Archaeoastronomy, The Bulletin of the Center for 
Archaeoastronomy, 5, no. 1 (January-March,, 1982), 9-13. 

18. quoted in Aveni, Starwatchers, p. 258. 

19. Anthony Aveni, Sharon L. Gibbs, and Horst Hartung, "The 
Caracol Tower at Chichen Itaz: An Ancient Astronomical 
Observatory?" Science, 187 Gune 6, 1975), 977-85; Aveni, Starwatchers, 
pp. 261/ 62, 64-66). 

20. Aveni, Skywatchers, p. 186. 

21. Aveni, Skywatchers, pp. 189-90. 

22. Aveni, Skywatchers, p. 177. 

23. Stanley E. Payne and Michael P. Qoss, "A Survey of Aztec 
Numbers and their Uses," in Native American Mathematics (Austin: 
University of Texas Press, 1986), p. 213. 

24. Marcia Ascher and Robert Ascher, Code of the Quipu: A Study in 
Media, Mathematics, and Culture (Ann Arbor: The University of 
Michigan Press, 1981); Marcia Ascher, "Mathematical Ideas of the 
Incas," in Native American Mathematics, edited by Michael P. Qoss 
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986), pp. 261-90. 

25. R. T. Zuidema, "The Inca Calendar," in Native American Astronomy, 
ed. Anthony F. Aveni (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977), p. 231. 

26. Zuidma, pp. 221-25. 

27. Zuidma, pp. 220, p. 258. 

28. Lechtman, pp. 30-33. 

29. Charles B. Heiser, Jr., "Some Botanical Considerations of the Early 
Domesticated Plants North of Mexico," in Prehistoric Food Production in 
North America, edited by Richard I. Ford, Anthropological Papers, 
Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, no. 75 (Ann Arbor: 
University of Michigan, 1985), 59, 68. 

30. Stephen B. Brush, Heath J. Carney, and Zosimo Huaman, 
"Dynamics of Andean Potato Agriculture," Economic Botany, 35, no. 1 
(1981), 70^8. 

31. C. Wesley Cowan, "Understanding the Evolution of Plant 
Husbandry in Eastern North America: Lessons from Botany, 
Ethnography and Archaeology," in Prehistoric Food Production in North 
America, edited by Richard I. Ford, Anthropological Papers, Museum 
of Anthropology, University of Michigan, No. 75 (Ann Arbor: 
University of Michigan, 1985), pp. 207-217) 



32. Heiser, pp. 61-62; Hugh C. Cutler, "Food Sources in the New 
World," Agriculture History, 28 (1954) p. 44. 

33. Heiser, pp. 63-67; Gary P. Nahban and Richard S. Felger, 
"Teparies in Southwestern North America — A Biogeographical and 
Ethnohistorical Study of Phaseolus acutifolius," Economic Botany, 32 
no. 1, (1978), 2-19. 

34. Walton C Calinat, "Domestication and Diffusion of Maize," in 
Prehistoric Food Production in North America, edited by Richard I. Ford, 
Anthropological Papers, Museum of Anthropology, University of 
Michigan No. 75 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1985), pp. 249- 

52. 

35. Collins, G. N., "A Drought-Resisting Adaptation in Seedlings of 
Hopi Maize," ]ournal of Agricultural Research, 1914, 1293-306. 

36. Donald Brand, Agricultural History, 13 (1939), 109-110. 

37. Robert H. Lister and Florence C Lister, Chaco Canyon: Archaeology 
and Archaeologists (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 
1981), pp. 195-99. 

38. R. Gwinn Vivian, "Conservation and Diversion: Water-Control 
Systems in the Anasazi Southwest," in Irrigation's Impact on Society, 
edited by Theodore E. Downing and McGuire Gibson, Anthropological 
Papers of the University of Arizona, Number 25 (Tucson: The 
University of Arizona Press, 1974), p. 104.R. Gwinn Vivian, Prehistoric 
Water Conservation in Chaco Canyon, Final Technical Letter Report 
for NSF Grant No. GS-3100, Tucson: Arizona Archaeological Center, 
1972. 

39. Vivian, 1974, p. 104. 

40. Lister and Lister, p. 204. 



Clara Sue Kidwell, a member of the Choctaw and Chippewa 
tribes, is associate professor of Native American studies at the 
University of California, Berkeley. She was guest editor of our 
special issue on Native American Women, Fall, 1987. 




A Zuni cornfield draped with ropes festooned with rags to ward off birds. Scarecrows made to resemble kachinas dot the field. On 
the far slope, two shelters will house families who move to the fields as the crops mature. Courtesy of the Natural Museum of the 
American Indian. 





REVIEW ESSAY 





THE MEANING OF MEAT 



Edward Searle 

A critical attitude is one of our distinctive liberal 
traits. For nearly two centuries we liberals have 
examined through the two lenses of reason and 
experience whatever has been presented to us as 
truthful. In part this critical attitude is fueled by a 
belief in progress - that revelation is ongoing, that 
knowledge is ever increasing, and that the indi- 
vidual and society may be improved through 
continuing inspiration and information. 

It all began two hundred years ago with Reason 
looking critically at dogma and tradition. Then 
Idealism, taking the name of Transcendentalism, 
looked critically at a religion based only on a 
rational reliance on Scripture. Abolitionism looked 
critically at the prevailing social and political 
structure of the mid-nineteenth century. Then 
Evolution and Science looked critically at what had 
been metaphysical and mythological assumptions. 
As this century began, a modern Humanism, 
motivated by the social and physical sciences, 
asserted a new naturalism over an old supernatu- 
ralism. In most recent years Feminism has signifi- 
cantly challenged thousands of years of cultural 
patriarchy, reestablishing the order of relationships 
and structures of access and power. 

Through two centuries of "proving all things" there 
has been real progress in insight and understand- 
ing. I would even say there has been movement 
toward perfection, though our reach will always 
exceed our grasp regarding that goal. 

In this essay I'm going to talk about Vegetarianism 
as a critical outlook potentially as important as any 
that has moved us toward the twin purposes of the 
perfection of character and the perfection of soci- 
ety. 

My remarks draw from a recent book The Sexual 
Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory 
by Carol J. Adams. Perhaps I was waiting for such 
a book to come along. I was certainly ready for it, 
and almost every chapter brings a consciousness 
raising insight. 




Betye Saar 



Black Angus Meets Big Brahma 



Confessions of a Meat Eater 

Before getting into the contents of the book, I will 
review my own relationship with meat and meat 
eating: 

When I was young my parents raised and "har- 
vested" (that is, killed) chickens. My father 
chopped off the chickens' head with a hatchet. The 
expression "like a chicken with its head cut off 
had real meaning for me. I can still see in my 
memory's eye the headless birds careening about 
with blood spurting from severed necks. I know 
the feel of plucking feathers and the warm smell of 
eviscerated intestines. 

Raised Catholic when Fridays were meatless, - 
since I wouldn't eat fish, - one day each week until 
I went off to college was a vegetarian day. 

The first time I remember meat being repulsive 
occurred when I was in my early 20's; while living 
in Ottawa, we were invited to someone's summer 
camp along the Ottawa River for a pig roast. A 
suckling pig was actually served. The baby pig was 
baked whole from head to tail. The flesh was 
exceedingly soft and sweet. And I flashed on 
Jonathan Swift's famous satire, "A Modest Pro- 
posal." 

Several years later while viewing an autopsy as 
part of my ministerial training, from the corner of 



12 



my eye I watched a laboratory assistant clean a 
human liver. From that moment I was never able to 
eat liver again. It was also the beginning of the 
thought that I shouldn't be eating meat at all. 

A dozen years ago I stopped eating red meat. And 
while I continue to eat fowl and fish, I generally try 
to avoid the so-called white meats, too. 

About the same time I began to read Schweitzer, 
finding his "reverence for life "ethic - that which 
enhances life is good, that which destroys life is evil 
- especially congenial to my own way of knowing 
and doing. 

A couple of years ago I spent an afternoon on a fair 
sized Wisconsin dairy farm. It was an especially 
bad day for the farmer. The night before a cow had 
strangled when it got twisted in its stanchion. It 
was lying in the mud and muck behind the barn 
with blood draining from its nostrils. The 
Tenderer's truck eventually arrived full of stinking 
carcasses to winch the dead cow aboard. During 
the afternoon a young cow being milked for the 
first time after birthing, broke free and rampaged 
through the barn; the next day a butcher's truck 
took away the uncontrollable cow. We helped 
bottle feed winsome calves which would soon be 
slaughtered for veal. I started to think about dairy 
products as I once had begun to think about meat. 

So I am not a true vegetarian since I have continued 
to eat animal flesh, though only white meat and 
that meat only infrequently. I don't think a moment 
of eating any flesh has passed in a dozen years 
without an awareness that this was probably not 
morally right. 

For me The Sexual Politics of Meat is a book I was 
ready and waiting for - this is to say it's propitious. 
Carol Adams' reasoning is compelling - hard for 
me to ignore when processed by my own powers to 
reason and through my accumulating and varied 
life experiences. 

Rethinking Meat 

The thesis of The Sexual Politics of Meat is that the 
same cultural attitudes and hierarchies of power 
that oppress women also oppress animals. As 
women have been and are objectified - not re- 
spected for their spirit of being - so the spirit of 
being within animals is also objectified. In her book 
Carol Adams presents vegetarianism not as a fad 
but as a valid and valuable reform - a logical 



extension and application of feminist insights. 

Adams' analysis of the meaning of meat is, on one 
level, a sophisticated exercise in demythologizing 
symbolic language, revealing how language masks 
reality and enforces patriarchy. She writes: 

"From the leather in our shoes, the soap we use to 
cleanse our face, the down in the comforter, the meat 
we eat, and the dairy products we rely on, our world 
as we know it is structured around a dependence on 
the death of other animals. The death of the other 
animals is an accepted part of life, either envisioned 
as being granted in Genesis 1:26 by a human-oriented 
God who instructs us that we may dominate the 
animals, or conceptualized as a right because of our 
superior rationality. For those who hold to this 
dominant viewpoint in our culture the surprise is not 
that animals are oppressed (though that is not the 
term they would use to express human beings' 
relationship to the other animals), the surprise is that 
anyone would object to this. Our culture generally 
accepts animals' oppression and finds nothing 
ethically or politically disturbing about the exploita- 
tion of animals for the benefit of people. Hence our 
language is structured to convey this acceptance." 

She makes a great case of meat in terms of what she 
calls an absent referent. What is meat, really? Meat 
is the flesh of a dead animal. In every instance 
when you say meat the absent referent is the once 
living animal now dead and dismembered. You 
eat a hamburger? the absent referent is a cow. 
How did that cow die? it was slaughtered - 
stunned and bled and killed and butchered and 
ground. But rather than to think of meat in this 
manner we generally obfuscate and distance 
ourselves from the reality by symbolic language. 

Adams correctly points out that for most of us 
suburbanites and urbanites our major interaction 
with animals is through meat, though we don't 
often think about it in this way. "We eat them. This 
simple fact is the key to our attitudes to other 
animals, and also the key to what each one of us 
can do about changing these attitudes." She sug- 
gests when you eat meat think, "How am I now 
interacting with an animal?" 

Saying that probably makes you uncomfortable. I 
know that it makes me uncomfortable. Adams 
knows this, too, observing: 

"On an emotional level everyone has some discom- 
fort with the eating of animals. This discomfort is 
seen when people do not want to be reminded of 



13 



what they are eating while eating, nor to be informed 
of the slaughterhouse activities that make meat-eating 
possible; it is also revealed by the personal taboo that 
each person has toward some form of meat: either 
because of its form, such as organ meats, or because of 
its source, such as pig or rabbit, insects or rodents. 
The intellectual framework of language that en- 
shrouds meat eating protects these emotional re- 
sponses from being examined. This is nothing new; 
language has always 
aided us in sidestepping 
sticky problems of 
conceptualization by 
obfuscating the situa- 
tion." 



Adams asks, do you see 
yourself as eating a 
succession of chops, 
burgers, and steaks - real 
food for real people? Or 
do you see yourself - as 
does the average Ameri- 
can in a lifetime - con- 
suming 43 pigs, 3 lambs, 
11 cows, 4 calves, 1,107 
chickens, 45 turkeys, and 
861 fishes? 

She further points out 
that language is not just 
male-centered, but also 
human-centered. We 
generally use the word 
animal as though it did 
not apply to us. Our 
language is structured to 
avoid our essential 
biological identity with 
non-human animals. 



Ctocca GuUxffouf 




Gtoi&A. Cut J^ocmet 
Jim ^Qnacaima, 



JtT, Eat 4* QtA6n, 



4 5 






/ftct- cvnct 



Here we squarely face the 
real issue of the relationship between human 
animals and non-human animals. Is it moral to use 
animals - to turn them into things? Indeed the 
deeper issue involves "the interdependent web of 
existence" - our place in that intricate web of life- 
form connected to life-form. What does it mean 
when we say we have respect for the interdepen- 
dent web of life? What is that respect for, if not for 
life itself - life in all forms? 

Ethical vegetarianism and the animals rights 
movement challenge long prevailing attitudes of 
oppression and violence by human animals on non- 



14 



human animals. Adams in The Sexual Politics of 
Meat joins the feminist cause to ethical vegetarian- 
ism - challenging the attitudes of the patriarchy 
that are oppressive (not respectful of life) and do 
violence (hurtful of life). At the heart of her argu- 
ment for feminism and vegetarianism is reverence 
for a spirit of life no matter what form life takes. 
Life is sacred. Adams recommends that an effective 
personal strategy to 
undermine the patriarchy 
with its violent and 
death-dealing ways is to 
(in poetic language) "eat 
rice, have faith in 
women." In this regard 
vegetarianism is not a fad 
but a serious and poten- 
tially powerful reform. 

I've left out big pieces of 
Carol Adams' analysis, 
particularly regarding 
the identifying of meat- 
eating with maleness, 
superiority, and power. 
Though her book is but 
190 pages these are dense 
and rich pages. The book 
is part cultural, part 
history, part moral 
philosophy, and part 
literary criticism (for 
instance, she deals with 
Mary Shelley's Franken- 
stein as a significant 
vegetarian text). It's a 
tough but good read. 

Personal Conclusions 

Now I've been long 
pondering the meaning of meat within my own 
life. This book galvanizes years of thinking and 
leads to these personal conclusions: 

1) The distinction between human and non-human 
animals continues to dissolve into a swelling 
naturalism. It's clearer and clearer to me that the 
spirit of being in me identifies with the spirit of 
being in any creature. I am more and more 
loathe to oppress and to do or participate in 
violence to other human beings and to other 
creatures. 



BoTXtnAou&e, amd 7= /Sen*. dUaAt 



\5Aoct£dtn. Cfom. 






2) There is not just an ethics but also an aesthetics 
to true vegetarianism. Vegetarianism transforms 
what frequently is a social obsession - eating - 
into a more thoughtful and graceful act. And 
when that is' so it enhances my whole pattern of 
living. 

3) Being an ethical vegetarian is indeed a powerful 
personal political act challenging a dysfunctional 
and dangerous existing order as well as giving 
ongoing persuasive witness to a more fitting and 
beneficial order. 

4) Vegetarianism fits into a "seamless garment" of 
reverence for life, pushing my humanism into 
the deeper spirituality of naturalism. 

An Admonition 

I suspect that many readers feel discomfort with 



these ideas. The images that have come to you are 
gory and unpleasant. There's cause why you 
should find them so. Examine those feelings. And 
examine the arguments of ethical vegetarianism. 
Ponder the true meaning of meat and how that 
meaning permeates your life. Think about the 
reform - the perfection - of your character and of 
society. 

At the very least prove to the satisfaction of your 
abilities to think and experience, that meat eating is 
right (prove all things). And as always, "Hold fast 
to that which is good." 



Rev. Searle is the minister of the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale. 
This essay was adapted from a pulpit address delivered in 
Park Forest on November 3, 1 991 . 



15 





REVI EW E S SAY 





WOMEN AND WAR 



Barbara M. Conant 



Argall, Phyllis. My Life with the Enemy. Macmillan, 1944. 
Bryant, Alice Franklin. The Sun was Darkened. Chapman & 
Grimes, Inc., 1947. 
Cates, Tressa. The Drainpipe Diary. Vantage Press, 1957. 
Cates, Tressa. Infamous Santo Tomas. Pacific Press, 1981. 
Crouter, Natalie. Forbidden Diary, a Record of Wartime Internment, 1941- 
1945. Burt Franklin & Co., 1980. 

Dew, Gwen. Prisoner of the Japs. Alfred A. Knopf, 1943. 
Hyland, Judy. In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Augsburg, 1984. 
Jeffrey, Betty. White Coolies. Philosophical Library, Inc., 1955. 
Kathigasu, Sybil. No Dram of Mercy. Oxford University Press, 1954. 
Lim. Janet. Sold for Silver. The World Publishing Company, 1958. 
Marquez, Adalia. Blood on the Rising Sun. DeTanko Publishers, Inc., 
1957. 

Miles, Fern Harrington. Captive Community, Life in a Japanese 
Internment Camp, 1941-1945. Mossy Creek Press, 1987. 
Nash, Grace C. That We Might Live. Shano Publishers, 1984. 
Priestwood, Gwen. Through Japanese Barbed Wire. D. Appleton- 
Cenrury Company, 1943. 

Rodriguez, Helen. Helen of Burma. Collins, 1983. 
Rose, Darlene Deibler. Evidence not Seen, a Woman's Miraculous Faith in 
a Japanese Prison Camp During WWII. Harper & Row, 1988. 
Rubens, Doris. Bread and Rice. Thurston Macauley Associates, 1947. 
Sams, Margaret Sherk. Forbidden Family. University of Wisconsin 
Press, 1989. 

Thomas, Mary. In the Shadow of the Rising Sun. Maruzen Asis, 1983. 
Tierney, Jane. Tobo. Phiathus, 1985. 

Vaughan, Elizabeth. Community Under Stress. Princeton University 
Press, 1949. 

Vaughan, Elizabeth. A Wartime Diary of the Philippines. Univeristy of 
Georgia Press, 1985. 

Witthoff, Evelyn M. Three Years Internment in Santo Tomas. Beacon Hill 
Press, n.d. 



Horror and brutality are an inevitable and tragic 
cost of war. For a large number of women who 
were trapped in the direct path of the Japanese 
military machine during World War II this was 
especially true; a significant number of these 
women became prisoners of war and suffered 
privation, hunger, torture, rape or even death. 
These stories are personal narratives, stories writ- 
ten by the women who experienced the events 
described. They reveal universal experiences of 
war: brutality, destruction and the diminishing of 
humanity. 

Although Japan had participated in the 1929 
Geneva Convention, they did not ratify the treaty. 



Under the terms of the Convention, civilians posed 
no military threat and could remain outside con- 
centration camps. The Japanese, however, chose to 
intern British, Dutch and American civilians. Many 
camps were established across the Far East. Some 
were for men only, some were for women and 
children, and some were sexually integrated. 
Regardless of the type of camp, the internees' 
conditions and experiences generally were similar. 
The prisoners were semi-starved, denied adequate 
medical treatment and physically or mentally 
brutalized. While this type of treatment was 
universal regardless of sex, men's experiences, both 
as military prisoners and internees, are extensively 
reported by both historical studies and personal 
narratives. The stories discussed here are an 
attempt to focus on the women's experiences in the 
Pacific Theatre in World War II. The books contain 
the personal stories of American, Asian, and British 
women who experienced the horror of war first 
hand. They constitute a body of writing which has 
engrossed me for many years. My interest in this 
subject was piqued by my friendship with a 
woman who had escaped on the last ship out of 
Singapore in 1941. This interest was renewed in 
the 1960s when I visited Hong Kong, Singapore 
and Manila, but was truly ignited by the British 
television series, Tenko, that was shown in the 
United States in the mid-1980s. It became an 
obsession to determine what was fact and what 
was artistic license. 

I have arranged the stories in a loosely geographi- 
cal manner. In some areas, Malaysia for example, 
there were many camps and the internees were 
moved to different sites during their period of 
detention. Although the Japanese did not have an 
official policy regarding internment camps, the 
experiences across the Far Eastern region, Hong 
Kong, the Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Japan, and 
Malaya, were remarkably similar. 



HONG KONG 

War came to Hong Kong on December 8, 1941. 
Two young women, one British and one American, 
give an insight into the attitudes of the times. 
Gwen Priestwood, a Briton, and Gwen Dew, an 
American journalist, danced away the night of 



16 



December 7; they awoke early the next morning to 
a bombing attack. Although war had been antici- 
pated, the British were confident of their prepara- 
tions and believed that Hong Kong could with- 
stand a long siege. However, they had underesti- 
mated the strength of the Japanese; after only 
eighteen days of bombing, shelling, and guerilla 
invasion, Hong Kong surrendered. 

Gwen Priestwood describes the attack from the 
eyes of an ambulance driver and a provision truck 
driver who had to avoid bombs and mortars in 
order to fulfill her duties. On January 24, 1942, she, 
along with other British, American, and Dutch 
civilians, was interned in Camp Stanley. Men, 
women and children quickly found themselves 
living on starvation rations. Gwen and Anthony 
Bathurst, a policeman in peacetime, plotted an 
escape. Her book Through Japanese Barbed Wire (D. 
Appleton-Century Company, 1943), describes their 
1000 mile trek across China, from Hong Kong to 
Chungking, on which they had to avoid both the 
Japanese soldiers and the Chinese bandits. 

Gwen Dew, a young journalist from Detroit, 
wanted to see war through a woman's eyes. What 
she saw was terror, rape, destruction and death. 
During the siege, Gwen photographed the bomb- 
ings and shellings. Returning to her lodgings for 
film, she, along with a number of civilians and 
some soldiers, was trapped in the Repulse Bay 
Hotel. After defending the hotel for a few days the 
soldiers left, to save the civilians from further 
attack and possible harsh treatment at the hands of 
the Japanese. The prisoners were taken first to the 
Kowloon Hotel, which was across the harbor, and 
then transferred back to Camp Stanley, which was 
just below the Repulse Bay Hotel. Gwen was 
among the journalists who were repatriated in June 
1942. 

One of the most moving passages in Dew's Prisoner 
of the Japs (Alfred A. Knopf, 1943) is her interview 
with one of the young nurses who witnessed the 
slaying of both the doctor-in-charge and his sec- 
ond-in-command at one of the military hospitals, 
and who was gang raped by the Japanese officers. 



MALAYSIA, SUMATRA, JAVA, BORNEO AND 
NEW GUINEA 

Perhaps the best known accounts from this area are 



those of the Australian nurses interned for three 
and a half years. A few days before the fall of 
Singapore, the Australian Army evacuated the 
nurses and the wounded personnel in two groups. 
The first group, although constantly subjected to air 
attack, eventually reached Australia. The second 
group, which included sixty-five nurses, left 
Singapore the evening of February 12, 1942. Their 
ship, the Vyner Brooke, was bombed and sunk two 
days later. Fifty-three nurses survived the treacher- 
ous currents and swam or floated ashore. Of the 
survivors, twenty-one were exceptionally unlucky 
in terms of the troops who found them castaway. 
These twenty-one nurses were ordered by the 
Japanese to walk out into the South China Sea 
where they were machine-gunned. Only one 
nurse, Vivian Bullwinkel, survived this Banka 
Island Massacre, and for the next three and a half 
years lived under constant fear that the Japanese 
would discover her secret. Even in wartime, the 
murdering of unarmed personnel, military or 
civilian, is a crime. White Coolies (Philosophical 
Library, Inc. 1955) is Betty Jeffrey's secret diary 
account of those years. 




Malaquais Montoya 
17 



Mary Thomas was a young British nurse who 
arrived in Singapore in December 1939. With 
Singapore's fall imminent, she was given three 
choices: stay on at the General Hospital and con- 
tinue to nurse civilian wounded; go to the impro- 
vised military hospital; go straight into internment. 
Mary chose to go to the military hospital. Eventu- 
ally she was interned and spent more than two 
years in the infamous Changi Gaol. Later she was 
moved to Sime Road Camp where she was found 
in 1945. Her diary reveals that food in Changi was 
not too bad until October 1943. At that time the 
dreaded Kempeitai, the Japanese secret police, took 
over and the food became deficient both in quantity 
and quality. She also reveals that some of the 
commandants who were kind, later paid a dear 
price for their humanitarianism. Some were shot, 
some were reasigned to another camp, and some 
disappeared. Her book, In the Shadow of the Rising 
Sun (Maruzen Asis, 1983) tells of her experiences. 

Jane Tierney's Tobo (Piathus, 1985) is the tale of a 
young British woman who wanted to be near her 
RAF husband in Singapore. To achieve this goal, 
she set out to find a job that would take her to 
Singapore. She found one in Postal Censorship. 
Although the beginning and end of this book read 
more like a modern romance novel, the terror and 
danger are evident in the passages where she 
describes her flight across Java and her harrowing 
passage to Australia. 

Janet Lim's Sold for Silver (The World Publishing 
Company, 1958) is an autobiography of a young 
Chinese woman who spent three years in an intern- 
ment camp in Padang. Sold as a slave at the age of 
nine by her mother, Janet was rescued and entered 
the Church of England Zenana Mission School in 
Singapore. On December 8, 1941, Janet was up 
early, about 4 a.m., to prepare for her hospital 
examination, and witnessed the first bombing 
attack on Singapore. Her war-nursing experiences 
included caring for Japanese civilians, under the 
direction of two Japanese doctors, in a Malaya 
hospital. While many of her experiences were 
similar to other storytellers', her perspective is 
positive. She feels that she received much kindness 
and sympathy from both friend and enemy. 

The next three women did not find either kindness 
or sympathy from the enemy. Darlene Deibler 
Rose was a young American missionary who was 
captured in March 1942 in New Guinea. As a 



18 



prisoner of the Kempeitai she was not allowed to 
relieve herself for 72 hours and when taken to the 
common toilets on the fourth day, the hole in the 
floor was completely hidden by a pile of excrement 
a foot high. Her food consisted of a thin gruel of 
boiled rice with worms, small stones and chaff 
intact. She never received soap or water for wash- 
ing. During her interrogations, which were re- 
peated every few days for six weeks, if her answers 
did not please the secret police examiners, she was 
given a karate chop on her shoulder near the base 
of her neck, or was thumped on her forehead 
between her eyes. Her experiences are reported in 
Evidence not Seen, a Woman's Miraculous Faith in a 
Japanese Prison Camp During WWII (Harper & Row, 
1988). 

Sybil Kathigasu's No Dram of Mercy (Oxford Uni- 
versity Press, 1954) gives a long list of Japanese 
techniques of investigation. Sybil's "crime" was 
that she provided medical treatment for the gueril- 
las and that she listened to the BBC news on a short 
wave radio. She was repeatedly tortured, forced to 
watch the beating of her husband and the stringing 
up of her six year old daughter. Her child was tied 
up, then hoisted above a fire. The threat was that 
the little girl would be roasted alive, and that Sybil 
would have to watch this horror. With the defeat 
of the Japanese, Sybil's interrogation came to an 
end. The torture sessions had, however, left her 
paralyzed and unable to walk. She was flown to 
England for treatment and after fifteen months of 
recurrent operations died of blood poisoning, the 
result of an undetected broken jaw, which she 
received when she was kicked by an interrogator's 
boot. 

Helen Rodriguez in Helen of Burma (Collins, 1983) 
relates her experiences with the Japanese. When 
the Japanese invaded Burma, Helen refused to 
leave her patients in a hospital in Taunggyi. To 
provide a minimum of medical care, Helen resorted 
to stealing from the Japanese. In time she was 
caught, tortured and accused of spying for the 
Allies. 



THE PHILIPPINES 

The Philippines in the early 1940's was a place of 
employment for many Americans. Men and 
women came to the islands in the 1930's because 
the salaries were better than in the U.S. The 






women who were trapped in the Philippines were 
there because their husbands were employees of 
one of the plantations, or they were working in the 
Islands as teachers, nurses or missionaries. Experi- 
ences in the Philippines generally followed this 
pattern: With the notice of internment, the civilians 
were told to bring food and clothing for three days, 
and were inducted into a local camp, either on one 
of the islands or in Manila itself. Later - the time 
varies - the internees were moved to Manila, 
usually to Santo Tomas, where they spent the 
remainder of the war. 

With the many accounts of the Philippine experi- 
ence, it is possible to read of the same events from 
several perspectives. The missionary perspective is 
related in the following titles: Fern Harrington 
Miles, a Southern Baptist missionary, recounts her 
views in Captive Community, Life in a Japanese 
Internment Camp, 1941-1945 (Mossy Creek Press, 
1987). Judy Hyland, an American Lutheran mis- 
sionary, describes her experiences In the Shadow of 
the Rising Sun (Augsburg, 1984). Evelyn M. 
Witthoff, a missionary doctor and Geraldine V. 
Chappell, a nurse, both Nazarene missionaries, 
record their experiences in Three Years Internment in 
Santo Tomas (Beacon Hill Press, n.d.). The first two 
accounts were written years after the events and 
much of the immediacy of the drama has been lost. 
The Witthoff-Chappell account, however, was 
written shortly after repatriation and retains a 
sense of the pain, hunger and inhuman conditions 
under which they lived. 

The perspectives of American families living and 
working in the Philippines are revealed in the 
following accounts. Forbidden Diary, a Record of 
Wartime Internment, 1941-1945, by Natalie Crouter 
(Burt Franklin & Co., 1980) consists of more than 
500 pages of daily entries, events and concerns. 
Mrs. Crouter's living conditions - such as the 
amount and kind of food that was available, the 
shortage or excess of water - as well as her daily 
observations and insights into the actions of her 
fellow prisoners are detailed. She was an astute 
observer of humanity and a prolific diarist. 

Alice Franklin Bryant in The Sun was Darkened 
(Chapman & Grimes, Inc., 1947) lived on a coconut 
plantation on Negros Island prior to her capture in 
July 1942. In March 1943, she and her husband 
were moved to Santo Tomas in Manila. Her very 
personal account reflected the monotony of camp 



life - when and where she brushed her teeth, how 
she got her food, where she ate, and where she 
slept. 

Tressa R. Cates, a civilian nurse working in the 
Philippines, first published her experiences in The 
Drainpipe Diary (Vantage Press, 1957). A retitled 
second edition, Infamous Santo Tomas, was pub- 
lished in 1981 by Pacific Press. Tressa, her fiance 
and some friends were assisted by their houseboy 
for several years, who, for a fee, would bring a 
good meal each week. 

Doris Rubens, an instructor of English at the Uni- 
versity of the Philippines, and her husband man- 
aged to evade the Japanese for a year and a half by 
hiding in the mountains. Eventually they were 
captured and taken to Santo Tomas. Bread and Rice 
(Thurston Macauley Associates, 1947) recounts 
their experiences. 

That We Might Live (Shano Publishers, 1984) by 
Grace C. Nash is the story of a family in prison. 
She, her husband, and their two young sons were 
imprisoned in January 1942. Because of the poor 
health of her sons, Grace and the boys lived outside 
Santo Tomas between late January and September 
1942. When they came back in October, Grace 
became pregnant. Cohabitation had been banned 
by the Japanese and was, under Camp rules, a 
punishable offense. The camp leaders were faced 
with a dilemma. Keeping a pregnant female in 
camp flaunted a disregard for Japanese orders, but 
Americans were not permitted to live outside of 
internment. Thus, the safest option was to banish 
Grace, in January 1943, to a hospital on the outside. 

Miki Sherk was a nurse in the Hospicio de San Jose, 
where Grace lived until her son was born. Miki 
was the sister-in-law of Margaret Sherk Sams who 
wrote Forbidden Family (University of Wisconsin 
Press, 1989), a story of a young married woman 
who fell in love with a male prisoner. After their 
daughter was born, Margaret joined Jerry Sams at 
the overflow camp, Los Banos, where they re- 
mained until the war ended. 

Elizabeth Vaughan, a sociologist, traveled to the 
Philippines and married there. She and her two 
young children stayed on Negros while her hus- 
band went to Manila on a business trip. When war 
broke out, he joined the U. S. Army and went to 
Bataan. Elizabeth never saw him again. Elizabeth 
and the children became prisoners of the Japanese 



19 



and were eventually moved to Santo Tomas. The 
diary she began with the outbreak of war, A War- 
time Diary of the Philippines (University of Georgia 
Press, 1985) records her observations and feelings 
on Negros and Manila. After she returned to the 
United States, Elizabeth completed a doctoral 
program in sociology. Her dissertation, Community 
Under Stress (Princeton University Press, 1949) was 
based on her experiences at the Bacolod camp on 
Negros Island. 

Adalia Marquez provides a Filipino perspective. 
Adalia, educated in the United States, was the wife 
of Antonio M. Bautista, who became a leader in the 
guerilla forces. She and two of her three children 
were Japanese hostages for her husband. She tells 
of her experiences in Blood on the Rising Sun 
(DeTanko Publishers, Inc., 1957). 



Phyllis was arrested December 8, 1941 and impris- 
oned in Sugamo Prison, where all the long-termers 
and the most important political prisoners were 
assigned. Her crime was that her news stories were 
anti-Japanese. She was one of the journalists 
repatriated in June 1942. 

While these stories reflect individual courage and 
fortitude, they do not reveal the slightest admira- 
tion for war. In fact, they could serve as an indict- 
ment against the horror, the brutality, the inhuman- 
ity that war by its very nature requires of its partici- 
pants. While it is certainly true that not all indi- 
viduals in a position of authority were cruel or 
barbaric, the fact remains that the vast majority of 
the commanders of the camps noted above did not 
attempt to relieve the suffering of these women. 
For the women trapped in the path of this military 
machine, war was hell on earth. 



JAPAN 

My Life with the Enemy (Macmillan, 1944) by Phyllis 
Argall is the story of over twenty years in Japan as 
a missionary, educator and newspaper woman. 



Barbara Conant, University Professor in Library Sciences at 
Governors State University, is staff member /Library 
Resources for The Creative Woman. 



Women Against War 

UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE AT HOME AND ABROAD 




Women Against War 

59 East Van Buren, Suite 1400 
Chicago, IL 60605 
312/427-2533 



20 



THE PEACE CRANES ARE FLYING 



Mim Neal 



Leaving Chicago 11 a.m. Friday 
28 October, 1988, 1 arrived 
at Narita Airport in Japan 
circa 4:30 p.m. Saturday, 29 
October, 1988, having crossed the 
international dateline for the first time. 

Narita Airport is about 30 miles away from down- 
town Tokyo and a taxi ride would cost more than 
$100 so I managed to find a shuttle to my hotel. En 
route from the airport I noticed: #1 that roads were 
crowded (as they always are), #2 that all the cars 
were clean (as they always are), #3 that the major- 
ity of cars are white, and #4 that taxis are very 
colorful, with each company having a different 
shaped light on top of the car. As we entered Tokyo 
(a city of 27 million) I noticed hundreds of bikes 
parked, unlocked, on sidewalks. Theft is rare in 
Japan. 

Late the next morning, still struggling with jet lag, I 
emerged from my hotel intent on finding the 
Imperial Palace (just a few blocks away according 
to my map). 

Getting lost is often fun. People will go out of their 
way to point you in the right direction. 

As I finally approached the palace, I followed a 
long line of people who turned out to be going to 
the main gate to sign get-well wishes for Emperor 
Hirohito. Their path was bordered by blocks of 
reporters patiently awaiting news on the emperor's 
condition. I watched for a while, determining that it 
was okay for foreigners to sign, then signed. Pro- 
ceeding around the palace grounds (not all the 
way — they cover many acres) I became part of the 
Sunday afternoon strollers, watching joggers and 
amateur painters and family outings before finally 
making my way (with only a little assistance) back 
to my hotel. 

Monday through Wednesday I was scheduled to go 
with Japanese Rotarians to meet with staff at major 
media. At several places I was treated as quite a 
phenomenon with my words recorded and picture 



taken. In one memorable hour, I found myself in a 
(very polite) DEBATE with the president of Kyodo 
News Service (like our Associated Press). Only one 
morning was free. I took the . subway to 



Asakusa (the cen 
and wan- 



'/ 




ter of old Tokyo) 
dered happily 
Shinto shrines and 
/ Buddhist temples. 

One little boy feeding 
pigeons shared his pigeon 
feed with me after I took 
his picture. For one 
fleeting moment I had a 
glimpse of a geisha. 



Thursday I few (on 
the wrong side of 
the plane to see Mount "^& Fuji) to 
Hiroshima where Rotary was ^\ to hold its 
"Peace Forum." Met by local Rotarians and 
an interpreter, I was quickly briefed on the meeting 
and I provided them material for the media we 
were to brief the next morning. Then at the sugges- 
tion of the host Rotarians I went to the Peace 
Memorial Park with the translator, Kyoko Yoshida. 

It's important to note that none of the memorials in 
Hiroshima are testimonials to the inhumanity of 
Americans. Instead, they are testimonials to the 
horrors of atomic warfare. Hiroshima is a city that 
had existed for some 400 years before it was com- 
pletely destroyed on 6 August, 1945. Survivors 
insisted on rebuilding the city on the original site. I 
am older than every tree, every building, every 
street in this city. I was there nearly a week, work- 
ing with Hiroshima citizens, gradually learning 
that a significant proportion of them dedicate a 
significant part of their lives to working for peace. 
Most are either survivors or related to victims or to 
survivors. Most seem to have what I can only 
describe as a core of profound silence. They are 
simultaneously gentle and intense. Knowing them 
is a privilege. 

The Peace Memorial Museum is small, always 
crowded with visitors (including the inevitable 
uniformed school children), it has pictures and 
dioramas showing the images with which we are 
all too familiar. Two things made it emotionally 
devastating. One was the fact that during the tour 
my guide, Kyoko, quietly revealed that her aunt 
had died from the bomb and that her mother was a 
survivor, having been exposed to radiation. The 



21 



second was the white steps of the old courthouse 
on which there is a faint black shadow, all that 
remain (there were no bones, no blood, no dust) of 
one human being who will never be identified. 

My second tour of the museum was during the 
forum when the official Rotary International party 
went through. To protect the officers from being 
crushed by the crowds, I stretched out my arms. 
Several dozen students stayed closed to this "bar- 
rier" without pushing. At one point I felt one of 
them touch my fingers and gently squeeze my 
hand. 

The most famous memorial in the park is the 
Children's Memorial raised by the fellow students 
of a young girl who ten years after the bomb died 
from leukemia caused by being exposed to radia- 
tion. While in the hospital she began making 
origami cranes in the hope, per Japanese folklore, 
that if she were to make a thousand, her health 
would be restored. She died before she completed 
her task. Making garlands of a thousand origami 
cranes has become a symbol of the hope for peace. 
People from around the world leave these garlands 
in front of the memorial. Every month, thousands 
of these garlands accumulate there in mounds the 
size of automobiles and an organization, formed 
only for this purpose, collects them and burns them 
in a special ceremony. (Participants in the Rotary 
Peace Forum also made cranes, presenting them in 
front of the memorial.) 

Between tasks in Hiroshima, I snatched time to 
visit local sights. With Japanese hosts, I visited the 
sacred island of Miyajima, home to wondrous 
shrines and the famous "floating" torii gate. Al- 
ways protected, the deer here are very tame. One of 
them actually stuck its nose in my camera. I saw a 
Shinto ceremony where children were blessed (by 
tradition, at ages one, three, five and seven) for 
continued health and prosperity. Later, back in 
Hiroshima, I wandered into the area in front of 
another shrine where hundreds of families were 
bringing children, in full traditional dress, for the 
rite. 

My last day in Hiroshima my special guide, Kyoko, 
helped me finish needed paperwork and board the 
famous "bullet train" to Kyoto. 

Kyoto was Japan's second capital. Because of the 
pleas of an American professor, it was not bombed 
during World War II and its thousands of temples 



and shrines remain intact. If you concentrate hard, 
you could see all of its special places in a month. I 
had one day. Taking a morning bus tour, I visited 
one of the main Buddhist temples, Noji Castle, and 
the Golden Pavilion. At Noji Castle, the exterior 
floor is designed to squeak when walked upon (to 
warn the shogun and his entourage of intruders). 
The nails causing the squeak were arranged in such 
a way that the sound was that of a bird. It is called 
the nightingale floor. Everywhere, incredible 
beauty, enhanced by brilliant fall foliage. An 
afternoon bus tour took me to Nara, the first capital 
of Japan and site of the country's oldest Buddhist 
temple (the largest wooden building in the world) 
and the Shrine of a Thousand Lanterns. The build- 
ings at the shrine surrounded a thousand-year-old 
tree from which hung little paper symbols indicat- 
ing that it was sacred. On the bus, I talked with a 
widow from New Jersey seeking adventure 
through world travel (she'd already been to Nepal 
and was planning a trip to mainland China). That 
evening, I had dinner with a fellow tourist, a 
woman executive from Geneva, Switzerland. 

The next morning I wandered around the grounds 
of another temple close to my hotel. Three school 
boys stopped me and asked if I'd help them with 
an assignment from their English teacher to inter- 
view a foreigner. They asked me questions (Did I 
believe in peace? How do Japanese and American 
cultures differ? Did I like Kyoto?) and I wrote my 
answers in their school books. 

Even if I have a chance to visit these places again, it 
was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will 
always treasure. Above all else it proved to me that 
while each culture is — and should remain — dis- 
tinct, people with very different backgrounds can 
"connect." 

We each, in our own ways, can weave garlands of a 
thousand cranes. 



Mim Neal, 50, manager of media relations for Rotary 
International, sometimes travels as part of her job, trying to 
cross borders of perceptions and perspectives as well as 
nations. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. 



22 




DANCING 



Kick off your shoes and dance with me 

clap your hands stomp those feet 

now swing those hips wide 

you are the pendulum of time 

arcing to the left as night turns 

arcing to the right as day appears 

Not even Puck could dance like that! 



Throw off those clothes and dance with me 

undulating trills throaty whispers 

heady cries of timeless pleasure 

you are the timeless Earth crier 

calling to the left as soldiers march 

calling to the right as women birth 

Not even Arielle could sing like that! 

Discard those fears and dance with me 

emotional clarity milk of kindness 

endless acts deserving 

you are the new beginning 

creating to the left a new world 

creating to the right blessed peace 

Not even Gaia could create like that! 



Shawna Craig 



m 



JANET COWSER 



IN NATURE, HERSELF 

Gaia, the goddess, the planet earth embodied: woman. 

The Nude: a female body enters the mind, yes, even after all we've learned... 

Photographer/photography, 

the voyeur and the ultimate voyeuristic tool, 

the outsider, the observer. 

The camera, which keeps the outsider outside, 

the male gaze made into steel and glass, pointed, aimed, 

but these photographs 
look more gathered 
than hunted. 

The photographer: almost always male 
The subject: almost always female. 
The photographs: almost 

always the same bodies, the same flawless, forgettable faces, 

just enough careful posing, precise positioning, sensitive selecting and elegant etc. to 

ensure there be no mistake that this is art. 

But if s the almosts that illustrate, 
that reform and re-form. 

These photographs are made by a woman of herself in nature, herself. 
Not there for us - especially not there for us, male, us, 
but there because she is a part of it and it is a part of her 

(and a part of us, even, too, 

but we have somehow forgotten how to see that way, 

to feel that way) 

No, there's none of that "other stuff" here, 

the conventions that define the genre: 

the beautiful light catching the edge of the breast, 

the beautiful breast catching the edge of the light, 

the beautiful (pick a body part) exquisitely contrasted against 

the (pick an element of the landscape). 

None of that stuff. 

But there is beauty here, 

a great deal of it, 

and there is certainly the exquisite, 

and there is the wondrous celebration/integration of the female, 

(not "figure," not "form," not "nude") 

with the earth that she loves. 

Loves, touches and is touched by. 

We should all be so lucky in love. 

Jay Boersma 

Professor of Photography 
Governors State University 



24 



ARTIST'S STATEMENT 



JANET COWSER 



I am an environmental biologist, as well as a 
photographer. The genesis of this project was 
my enrollment in a graduate art seminar 
entitled Self as Genre. I knew from the begin- 
ning that my work would include trees. 

I listen to the trees. They whisper stories of 
the history of life on this earth to one another, 
and to others who care enough to listen to 
them. When I feel a need for inner strength, I 
take a walk in the woods. I envision myself a 
large oak tree, gentle and strong. Trees are 
resilient, able to endure harsh weather condi- 
tions or insect attacks. Trees nourish new 
lives as they lie rotting on the forest floor, 
providing nutrients and moisture for young 
saplings. It may be that I seek these qualities 
of endurance in my own spirit. It was with 
these intimate feelings for nature that I em- 
barked on the adventure of creating these 
images. 

I was inspired to continue my work with this 
theme. Throughout the next year, 1991, my 
images evolved to include rocks and water. I 
have listened to the gentle trickling words of 



the waters of Thorn Creek and the crashing 
waves of Lake Michigan as they, too, whisper 
the secrets of the living earth. 

Water and trees are of the same life force, as 
are the rocks. Rocks are broken down by the 
water into soil which nourishes trees. Trees are 
the life breath of the earth, producing the 
oxygen we breathe. 

The interdependence of all life forms is evi- 
dent. Humans need to understand that we are 
a part of the natural system integrated with all 
other life forces of the earth. It is my goal to 
increase this understanding. My aim is to 
inspire my fellow humans to hold the earth in 
their hearts and minds, being aware of how 
their actions impact the lives of other beings 
who share this world. 

It is my hope that in feeling this unity with 
other lives on this earth, humans will respect 
other life forces and not destroy them. 

My feelings of unity and respect are celebrated 
in these images. 




JANET COWSER 




26 



JANET COWSER 




28 




GRANDMOTHER 

I am searching for a young woman 

who stepped onto Ellis Island 

alone in 1911 

braided hair high cheekbones 

peasant dress babushka. 

She was smiling at America. 

She ironed shirts in a laundry 
freeing the wealthy of wrinkles. 
Then married a man 
who vowed to change like her country. 

I want to speak to the mother of ten children. 
Two she buried alongside a dead husband. 
Three graves shrouded in tragedy. 

She dragged sacks of clothes to wash and iron 
for men who spoke good English. 
Leaving invisible fingerprints in houses 
that she cleaned and polished. 

I want to see this old woman 
hunched in a pew near the Blessed Mother 
at mass every morning lighting a candle 
for a prayer to be answered. 

I want to know my grandmother. 

Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg 



29 





FICTION 





MENDING HEADS 



Mary Carroll 



Dr. Benjamin Natheniel turned the envelope over 
and studied the return address. She hadn't been 
sure. If she had been sure, she would have written 
before she went overseas. 

He slipped the note out of the envelope and read it 
again. She was coming through Boston on her way 
back from a conference in Yugoslavia. She wanted 
to come out to Newton and see him. 

It wasn't unusual for him to hear from former 
patients and students. They called when they were 
coming through Logan, they came to his lectures 
when he was in their town, they drove across 
country on impulse — to see an old friend. The tie 
between an analyst and his patients was a strong 
one. You told things to your analyst you didn't tell 
to your lover, or your husband, or your wife, or the 
taxi driver in Toledo, or the beauty operator in the 
Bronx. And it was the same with analytic students. 

He returned the note to its envelope, slipped the 
envelope into the box next to the statue on his desk, 
and leaned back in the leather chair he had sat in 
for forty years, listening to the stories of others. He 
hadn't expected to hear from one of them. It hadn't 
been a good ending. 

He sat there thinking until he heard the taxi pull 
into the driveway. He got up, and went to the attic 
window; watched her pay the driver, and look 
around. Her eyes focused on the For Sale sign 
planted in the front yard. He was moving down to 
the Cape, permanently. His son, Steven, who had 
taken over the practice, preferred to see patients in 
a downtown office. The days of sharing your home 
with the people you helped were long gone. 

He stepped back into the shadows as she looked up 
to the window. She was his age. The age he had 
been when they worked together in the sixties. He 
ran his hand through his white hair and smiled; 
wondering if she would still kid that he looked like 



Norman Mailer. He moved to his office door, as his 
secretary let her in. 

"Nice to see you," he said, extending his hand as 
she reached the top of the stairs. "Come in." 

There was a quick moment in which they both 
recognized how much older they were, and then 
that mysterious return to the way they had been 
when they last saw each other. He had seen it in 
other patients and students when they came back; 
felt it in himself, a reaching back behind the years 
they had not shared for the old connection, and 
then a drive to bring the tie forward, into the 
present. 

"Coffee?" 

"Yes." 

He watched her survey the room while he fixed the 
coffee. Watched her eyes bypass the analytic couch, 
and move to the alcove where he had conducted 
his student seminars late at night after the daily 
consultations had been completed and the patients 
seen. They had often stayed until two or three in 
the morning talking about their own patients, 
about their own struggles with the knowledge of 
the mind he had given to them. 

He had taken psychiatry out of academia and 
medical offices and into the streets during the 
sixties, and they had gone with him. They had gone 
with him into the police departments, into the 
welfare offices, into the massive mental institu- 
tions, into the schools, into politics. They would 
change the system. Make the wisdom of psychiatry 
available to everyone, not only to those who could 
pay for sanity. They would nip new diseases of the 
mind; eradicate old prejudices. Even after Kennedy 
died, the excitement continued. 

"You still have it," she said, sitting down in the 
chair in front of his desk, and reaching forward to 
touch the black figurine centered in front of her, 
but facing him. 

"What?" he asked, momentarily distracted by 
picking up the coffee cups. 

"The Koshin-Sama." 



30 



He stood with the coffee cups, watching her run 
her fingers over the three monkeys: SEE NO EVIL. 
HEAR NO EVIL. SAY NO EVIL. Her fingers 
stopped at the broken neck of SEE NO EVIL. 

He placed the coffee in front of her, and went 
around the desk to his chair. 

"Nice trip from Yugoslavia?" 

"Yes." 

"What did you give your paper on?" 

"Sadness." 

He leaned forward. "Unusual conference topic." 

"Yes, so they told me. Usually they talk about 
depression." 

"How did you come to decide on sadness?" 

"Because it's the terminal stage of mourning, the 
knowing what was behind the depression." 

"And accepting?" 

"That hasn't come yet." 

"It's been a long time. Could that have anything to 
do with why you're here?" 

The old rage soared into her face, but it was gone in 
a moment. It hadn't disappeared that quickly the 
last time he saw her. It had grown deeper and 
wilder as he defended himself against her accusa- 
tions, like the New Jersey street fighter he might 
have become if he hadn't gone into medicine. He 
had forgotten his analytic role that day. He had 
forgotten about the objective distance that Freud 
had insisted on. He had forgotten about maintain- 
ing objective closeness and objective distance long 
before that day. They had idolized him: as patients 
always idolize their analysts, and young students 
their teachers. And he had accepted their idolatry. 
But it was more than that. The times were idealistic, 
and the knowledge he had developed was over- 
whelming in its power. Dr. Benjamin Natheniel 
was making the wisdom of psychiatry accessible to 
ordinary people: allowing them to incorporate it 
into their lives and learn from it, without bending 
to the shameful stigma of mental illness. Even the 
academics who pushed him out of his teaching 
position at Harvard, acknowledged that. 

He watched her study the Koshin-Sama. She was 
not going to speak. He would have to resume the 



conversation. 

"Where did you go when you left Boston?" 

"Baltimore." 

"You married?" 

"Yes." 

"Still?" 

"I'm a widow." 

"I'm sorry. And Ron?" 

"He went to Australia. They put a steel plate in his 
head. He works on a ranch in the Outback. He can't 
think abstractly. He can't conceptualize." 

"Rachel?" 

"Toronto. They only saved her right eye." 

A researcher had called him from Sixty Minutes a 
few years ago. Sixty Minutes was trying to locate 
students who had left the country after the sixties, 
to do a story. He hadn't given any information. 

"Are you in contact with Ron and Rachel?" 

"No, but I always know where they are. You could 
have stopped it. You know you could have." 

There they were. The exact words she had said to 
him twenty years ago. 

"You wrote a book about us. A bestseller. Bet you 
paid a lot of money in taxes that year. Got your 
name on a few missiles?" 

He controlled himself from responding to the 
nastiness; seeing the old lines of betrayal in her 
face. 

"Did you read the book?" 

"Are you kidding?" 

He had hoped they would read it. He had assumed 
responsibility in the book. All the royalties had 
gone to the Massachusetts Mental Health Associa- 
tion. 

He shifted in his chair and allowed his mind to 
wander back to that night on the Commons. Joan 
Baez was singing. The universities had just opened 
for the fall term. It was the first rally. He had been 
invited to sit on the stage. They had come from all 
over New England. They filled the Commons, 
spilled over to the steps of the Capitol, sat on the 



31 



streets of Beacon Hill. 

"Was it because of your wife?" 

He had told himself it was because of Catherine, at 
first. The three of them had given blood when they 
took off Catherine's second breast. Catherine 
hadn't wanted him to go to the rally. The moment 
Joan Baez left for the airport, he had left himself, 
and walked over to Massachusetts General. He had 
heard the sirens in the background as he walked 
along the Charles, but he hadn't stopped. He 
hadn't gone back. 

"You could have stopped it, if you had been there," 
she was telling him again. You knew the Police 
Commander and the policemen. If you'd been there 
and taken the microphone, they wouldn't have hit 
us. We weren't doing anything. Rachel and I were 
just girls. Ron was a mere boy." 

He remembered being unable to look at the news- 
paper pictures of the clubbings. He hadn't asked 
her that last day if she, too, had been hit. 

"Did they club you?" 

"Of course, you ought to know that. They clubbed 
me twenty-eight times. They clubbed me in the 
head. I kept my arms over my face, so they 
wouldn't club me in the eye. That's where they 
wanted to club you, in the eye. And I counted. 
Every time they hit me, I counted. When they 
clubbed me the first time, I counted 11111111, 
until they clubbed me the second time, then I 
counted 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2, and the third time 3 3 3 3 3 3 
3 3, and the fourth 4444444 4. 1 counted so my 
head wouldn't shatter when they clubbed me. Ron 
didn't count. Rachel forgot to keep her arm over 
her eye." 

She was leaning forward in the chair, bringing the 
old terror back to him as well as to herself. Ninety- 
eight percent of the human race would have be- 
lieved it was because of Catherine. That he had 
innocently walked away from the rally he had 
organized, to be with his dying wife. They would 
have wanted to believe that too. But they would 
have known it wasn't true. He had taught them too 
much about the unconscious. He had taught them 
to see it, to understand it, to recognize that there 
were no coincidences in life, that every act was a 
decision no matter what the fear that led to it, that 
every contact bore a complementary purpose. 



He waited, sensing that she hadn't come back only 
to accuse him again. She put out her hand and 
touched the Koshin-Sama. The last time he had 
seen her, she had picked up the statue, aimed it at 
his head, turned, and flung it into the fireplace. It 
was then that "SEE NO EVIL" had been decapi- 
tated. 

'Tunny how things come together," he said, open- 
ing his desk drawer and removing a small black 
object. "I found this last week when I was pack- 
ing." 

She put her hand out and took the head of SEE NO 
EVIL. 

"Must be glue around here somewhere," he said, 
rummaging further in the drawer. 

She took the glue from him, studied the head for a 
moment, turned the figurine around to her, and 
attached the head of SEE NO EVIL to its body. 

"Ifs not like that," she said. 

"Not like what?" 

She didn't answer. He waited, but nothing came. 

"What happened after the clubbing?" 

"I forgot about it. No, it was that I couldn't remem- 
ber. I went to Baltimore, lived a normal life, 
worked." 

"And?" 

She touched the head, testing to see if the glue had 
dried. 

"After my husband died, I started to remember." 

"You stayed in Baltimore?" 

"No." 

"Where did you go?" 

'To the North. To the Arctic. To Bethel on the 
Kuskokwim River." 

"What did you do there?" 

"Stayed alive." 

"That was the task?" 

"Yes." 

"What was Bethel like?" 

'It's an Eskimo Trading Village. They're hitting 



32 



them with invisible clubs up there, for the oil." 

"How are the Eskimos handling it?" 

"They drink when the white man's around." 

"And when he's not?" 

"Some of them go into the time of the Dorset." 

He shifted forward in his chair. 

"Into the darkest of the dark?" 

"Yes." 

"And you went with them?" 

"Not at first. At first I only walked along the 
Kuskokwim. Once I walked all the way to the 
Bering Sea." 

"Eventually you went with them?" 

"Yes." 

Her eyes were twitching. 

"But you came back." 

"I didn't think I would." 

"But you did." He was smiling. 

Her eyes were still twitching. 



"It's not like that," she said, picking the Koshin- 
Sama up from his desk, and holding it in her 
hands. "You have to see evil, and hear it, and say 
it." 

"Before you can choose?" 

"Yes." 

"That's what it means. Once you've gone into the 
darkness, you can handle it." 

"It wasn't easy." 

"Now you can forgive?" 

"Yes." Her eyes twitched faster, racing ahead of 
something that was coming through, trying to hold 
it in, stop it. He knew it was the critical moment. 
Without moving he brought himself forward, 
closer to her, telling her it was o.k. 

"One of us could have taken the microphone too," 
she stammered, her lips continuing to tremble after 
the words were out. 

"Yes." 

He walked with her out to the curb, to wait for the 
cab. As it pulled into the driveway, they shook 
hands, knowing they would never see each other 
again. 



33 



MORNINGS WITH GREAT-GRANDFATHER 



Like an old freight train 
he shuffles from table to ice box. 
Hands worn as his cards for solitaire 
make me milk laced with coffee 
drowning crusty bread. 

Willing seeds to grow 

he raises tomatoes 

in a patch of backyard dust. 

His shoes move like lead skates. 

We are two question marks 

pulling weeds. 

Pheasant feather in hand 

he paints dust away 

from his only possession 

brought from the old country 

his mother's clock. 

With tiny hands 

I try to stop its turning wheels. 



In the parlor we sing 

in Croatian and English. 

"Dobrze! Good!" he says. 

Our song is a grateful prayer. 

He is my sturdy white topped dandelion 

before the wind blows. 

Georgeann Eskievich Rettberg 




34 



IN NO ONE'S ARMS 



A WRITER, EPPIS' 



In no one's arms 
she imagines arms 
In no one's arms 
she imagines waking 
Waking, she imagines arms 

As in dance he takes her 
spreads her arms, spreads her 
(he was a pilot — was he a pilot?) 
She is an angel and rises 
The sky is the O of relief 
(But what was his name) 
The O of freedom 
Careless she falls 
(the pilot, drunk in her bed) 

In no one's arms 
she imagines arms 
In no one's arms 
she imagines waking 
Waking, she imagines arms 

There is someone else tomorrow 

At the supermarket 

she smiles at the stockboy 

There is someone else tomorrow 

and it's that dream 

tiny affirmation 

through the I'm no good 

(What was the name of the pilot? 

How did they get there? Kansas City? 

Was it winter? It was winter.) 

Someone else tomorrow 

in a tiny trickling dream 



My mother, a conventional martyr 
Didn't raise her daughter 
To marry a typewriter 

Princess, bona fide Jewish 
It feels weird and not kosher 
To baby books 
Instead of a someday doctor 

Far back in high school 

When asked, "Is she college material?" 

Teachers replied, "She's boy crazy." 

I fooled them and declined 

Two cars and a split level husband 

A lingering death in Forest Hills 

Perversely, I embraced a thankless profession 
Neglected my Jane Fonda thighs 
Let my rear become 
Flabby as a worn pillow 

Unpublished manuscripts nourished by tears 
Mushroom in my closet 
Quick as weeds in a garden 

Meanwhile, I badger publishers 
Learn to eat crow for dessert 
Content to create myself. 

* Yiddish, means "so what?" 



Kim Meilicke 



Barbara Foster 



35 



NINE MONTHS 



SPRING PLANTING WITH MY 
DAUGHTER 



It is a labyrinth of stone, 
and I touch the gray coolness 
with surety, for it is mine. 
The sharp edges are difficult, 
keen on tender fingertips, 
but the warmth and the shadows 
are from my blood, my heart. 

Every choice within the wild rock 
has been a turning from the tight, 
chaotic morass of sound. 
I learn the importance of silence 
first; the tiny sounds beckon 
inward toward my own heartbeat. 
I touch the feather of your breath. 

Florence McGinn 




It nestled firmly in your hand 

as I brushed aside the dry leaves of the oak. 

The humus was soft and moist, 

but the trowel shivered harshly in my hand. 

The rock was blue black in its heaviness; 

no roots would ever pierce its unyielding bulk. 

My searching trowel confirmed its unmoving presence. 

I began to push the damp dirt 

back into that difficult hole, 
but I saw your small fingers 

tighten around the swelling daffodil bulb. 
I heard myself say that spring 

would bring yellow sunlight 

petals to greet you in the early morning. 

Spring yellow to make you smile 

as you watched the flashing lights 
of the school bus stop. 



I took off my dirt-stiff canvas gloves 

and began to feel for the edges of the rock 
with my groping fingertips. 

Florence McGinn 



36 



DIARY ENTRY 8/9/89 



TO HIS BONES, IN THE HOUSE 
SHRINE 






Forgiveness is the country I would like 

to enter, shoving aside the bars 

of fences, pits, and glaring lights. 

I glimpse the trees, imagine 

a clear bubbling stream where 

mounds of rock glow in the sun. 

I feel the breezes cross my face, 

a balm of fragrance, as toes stub 

tentacles of roots' debris. Where 

can I rest and wait 

for sweet/salt flowing tears 

to wash away my fate? 

Louise Budde DeLaurentis 



Not so often now 

do I wrap my arms around myself, 

pretending they are yours. 

Not so often 

do I squeeze myself together, 

wishing to fit into your new space. 

I accept your strangeness, 

as when you were the tall young man 

from a distant village 

who came looking for brides 

but could not rightly pronounce "bride." 

In time you learned how to talk like us, 

but your bones will never speak our languaj 

I must study how to sing in theirs. 

I still cry to you 

when our sons forget me, 

I rejoice when their babies are strong. 

I offer you wine and yams, 

you who are done with eating forever. 

I even tell you the washing-rock stories, 

the gossip no man should hear. 

I know my voice can be no more to you 

than the rattle of palm fronds in the rain, 

but forgive me, it is hard, 

learning to share a joke with the wind. 



Lisa Yount 



-" 





BOOK REVIEW 





BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED 
WAR AGAINST AMERICAN 
WOMEN 

Susan Faludi 

Crown Publishers, New York, NY, 1991 

Reviewed by Margaret S. Matchett 



In Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American 
Women, Susan Faludi describes the 1980's as a 
decade in which women lost ground on a wide 
range of fronts — in the work place, in government, 
in the right to reproductive choice. The carefully 
documented analysis of these losses alone would 
make Backlash indispensable reading. 

Faludi attributes the backlash essentially to widely 
prevalent attitudes which equate masculinity with 
supporting a family. As the gap between rich and 
poor widened in the '80's, working women became 
scapegoats of anxious men who saw their own jobs 
in jeopardy. 

If establishing masculinity depends most of all on 
succeeding as the prime breadwinner, then it is hard 
to imagine a force more directly threatening to fragile 
American manhood than the feminist drive for eco- 
nomic equality. ' 

The New Right supplied articulate ideologists of 
the backlash, denouncing feminism as the de- 
stroyer of traditional family values and calling for a 
patriarchy in which men were masterful providers 
and women docile homemakers. (It is particularly 
infuriating to read of New Right women who drop 
their children off at day care centers en route to 
offices where they write fulminations against day 
care.) 

The backlash, Faludi shows, was fueled by many 
forces, among them the media's insatiable hunger 
for novelty, pop sociologists' and psychologists' 
eagerness for publicity, Hollywood's search for 
sensation, and the fashion industry's incessant 
need for innovation. 



SUSAN FALUDI 

THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST 




TheUndeclaredWir 

Against American 

Women 



I: The Undeclared War Against American Women 
by Susan Faludi Price: $24.00 

Crown Publishers, Inc. Pages: 576 

ISBN: 0-517-57698-8 
Publication date: October 23, 1991 



From all these and other sources women heard a 
new message: You cannot have it all. Working 
women were told that the reckless pursuit of a 
career damaged themselves and their families, 
single women that early marriage was the only 
alternative to a life of lonely and embittered soli- 
tude. 

These dire predictions usually were based on 
casual anecdotal evidence; at most, flimsy and 
misleading statistics were invoked to buttress false 
conclusions. For example, a methodologically 
flawed but widely head-lined "study" reported 
that single women at 30 had only a 20% chance of 
marrying, with their chances falling rapidly there- 
after. Confronted with clear evidence of error, the 
authors of the "study" essentially retracted it, but 
reports of the withdrawal were buried in the back 
pages of newspapers. 2 



Similarly, when Carol Gilligan suggested, in In A 
Different Voice, that boys and girls approach moral 
choices differently, her very tentative and explor- 
atory findings were distorted enthusiastically by 
the media to become anti-feminist material. 

One casualty of the backlash, then, was truth. One 
legacy was diminished women. 

The backlash could never mold America into the 
backward-looking, dad-hailing nuclear family fantasy 
it promoted. But it could implant that image in many 
women's minds and set up a nagging, even torment- 
ing dissonance. 3 

Nor were the backlash wounds psychological only. 
There were women who risked unsafe invasive 
procedures in search of "beauty" as defined by 
artificial criteria. At the opposite pole were the 
women who underwent sterilization to hold jobs at 
American Cyanamid, jobs which they ultimately 
lost. 

Faludi's anatomization of the development of the 
backlash gives the reader general insight into the 
role of disinformation in an "information society." 
It is a depressing insight, but a valuable one. 

Backlash is well annotated, persuasively argued, 
and thoroughly convincing. On one topic, it 
seemed to this reviewer, more might well have 
been said. As noted, Faludi attributes the backlash 
primarily to the misogyny of men threatened by a 
faltering economy. Her analysis, while valid as far 
as it goes, omits another aspect of the 1980's — the 
concurrent backlashes against minorities, against 
the poor, against unions, and against children. For 
each of these reactions separate causes can be 
found. Underlying all of them, however, is their 
relationship to the maintenance of a pool of cheap 
labor. As the United States moved from a manufac- 
turing to a service economy, those already disad- 
vantaged became more so. Women had never 
achieved anything like economic equality; their 
state worsened as did that of other disadvantaged 
groups. Compassion and a respect for equity are 
alike indivisible. 

Backlash is an angry book, and with reason. It 
should be read for its wide array of information 
and its thoughtful dissection of popular culture. It 
should be read above all in contemplation of the 
future. 

...women can act. Because there is really no good 



reason why the '90s can't be their decade. Because the 
demographics and the opinion polls are on women's 
side. Because women's hour on the stage is long, long 
overdue. Because, whatever new obstacles are 
mounted against the future march toward equality, 
whatever new myths invented, penalties levied, 
opportunities rescinded, or degradations imposed, no 
one can ever take from the American woman the 
justness of her cause. * 




Susan Faludi, author of Backlash. Photo credit: Robert Foothorap 
1991. 



NOTES 
-[.Backlash, p. 65 

2. Probably any study of gender differences is open to abuse by 
backlash proponents. Faludi seems to this reader to treat Gilligan with 
excessive severity. To the list of legacies of the backlash might perhaps 
be added a chilling effect on open discussion within the women's 
movement. Threatened with distortion and misinterpretation of their 
works, people can embrace, to their peril, a rigid orthodoxy. 

3. Backlash, p. 452 

4. Backlash, p. 460 



Dr. Matchctt taught mathematics at the Laboratory School of 
the University of Chicago until her retirement. She is a regular 
book reviewer for The Creative Woman. 



39 





BOOK REVIEW 





WOMEN FOR ALL SEASONS: 
POETRY AND PROSE 
ABOUT TRANSITIONS IN 
WOMEN'S LIVES 

Edited by Wanda Coleman and Joanne Leedom- 
Ackerman. The Woman's Building, 1727 North 
Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, 1988. 

Reviewed by Terri L. Jewell 

Founded in 1973, The Woman's Building is a 
program that provides women in the creative arts 
the resources and opportunities for professional 
advancement. Although the 1970s were the years of 
society's profound re-education in the potential of 
women, the 1980s have seen resistance to Feminist 
ideals and regression to stifling social conserva- 
tism. Women artists have not yet gained the accep- 
tance of the art world or reaped rewards commen- 
surate to their number or the quality of their cre- 
ations. 

Women For All Seasons is a thoughtfully edited 
anthology containing a diverse selection of well- 
crafted, beautiful prose pieces and poems by 
women. Each work is strong in its depiction of 
some aspect of a woman's growth from girl to 
woman. Humor as well as anguish are treated 
skillfully, bringing the reader to a delicate intimacy 
with the subject. Debra Pearlstein's "Still Life 
Writing" is a poet's poem in its clarity and imagery 
in describing a woman writer's isolation: 

still writing bad checks, 

still writing shopping lists, 

still writing nightmare scenarios 

where I'm forty and alone. 

or dying and alone, 

where strangers pick through the rubble 

of my one-room apartment 

and don't understand any of it... 
"For The New Bard" by Lisa Teasley illuminates 
40 



the struggle between those of dissimilar vision, yet 
ends on a supportive note that acknowledges 
mutual concerns for a better world. 

Next time you drive 

the sword between blue eyes, 

I will be home 

with sweet smelling soaps, 

waiting to wash 

your strong hands 

clean. 

One extraordinarily effective piece is "The Drongo 
and the Hornbill" by Dolly Ogawa who is re- 
nowned for her horror stories. This story traces a 
maligned wife and mother who makes something 
of a drastic but not wholly unlikely choice in order 
to preserve her sense of self-hood. Some of the 
other works of note are the hauntingly beautiful 
story, "Gabriella" by Regina CMelveny; the 
poignant poem "Water and Earth" by Terry 
Wolverton which speaks to transitions between 
Lesbian lovers; "Double Amazon" by Cornelia 
LTMils which affirms aging and the experience of 
mastectomy; and a short prose piece touching 
reconnections between generations of women 
called "Mama Dear" by Pam W T ard. J. K. Alberts' 
"An Afternoon In August" is a powerful rendering 
of a reality not uncommon to many poor women in 
small towns throughout this country. And Linda 
Huggins' "Second Generation" follows a path of 
one woman changed from active wife and mother 
to one whose memories of a less lonely past cloud 
her present. 

Each and every work in the anthology, despite its 
length, voice or approach, is excellent. Women For 
All Seasons is an engaging collection of fine writers 
that will call the reader back for many re-readings. 
Whether read now or twenty years later, the prose 
pieces and poems will be true in depicting the 
struggle of women for self-actualization in this 
society. Congratulations to editors Coleman and 
Leedom-Ackerman, writers of stature themselves, 
for this gourmet's choice in contemporary litera- 
ture. 

Terri L. Jewell is a widely published poet, writer and critic. She 
lives in Lansing, Michigan. 





LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 





Dear Editor, 

Your "Crossing the Mainstream" issue of The 
Creative Woman just crossed my threshold and lit 
up my day. Please send five more copies, so I can 
share the beauty and the courage of this issue with 
my lesbian friends. 

JMG's Personal Statement was especially moving 
for me. She showed so graphically what a soul- 
wrenching decision it is to establish this new and 
unpopular identity. She clearly wants so sincerely 
to be authentically herself, and to love and receive 
love from another wonderful human being. 

Don't we all want this? How can any of us con- 
demn or pass judgment on a choice or a relation- 
ship based on so much caring and love? 

Elaine Lieder's Statement was interesting. How rich 
and diverse were her experiences and environ- 
ments while growing up. She crossed the main- 
stream in many ways - as a woman, working class, 
Jewish, lesbian, divorced, single parent. She spoke 
eloquently of weaving her working class experi- 
ence and conditioning into her later life. 

Debora Horning perceptively shares the events 
forming her need to marry a man who "would 
necessitate untraditional roles for me" - a post- 
polio quadriplegic. Freed from this commitment, 
she discovers her real self and finds a loving rela- 
tionship "committed to creating and sharing life- 
enhancing experiences" with "a friend, a mate who 
allows me freedom to be who I am." 

What a beautiful statement! May all who would 
criticize her choice ask themselves, "Am I commit- 
ted to creating and sharing life-enhancing experi- 
ences; do I allow my significant other to be who 
she/he really is? For that matter, Have I given the 
time and attention to get to know who he/she is?" 

Greta Gaard's sharing of dream experiences involv- 
ing snakes reminded me again of the power of 
dreams and their connection with our conscious 
life. Her vivid word images and flow of thoughts 
carry excitement. 

Donna Lampton's two poems are strong, honest 
and passionate - they moved me. I identified with 
the passion in a way that surprised me. 



Finally I found myself wishing that your guest 
editors, Barbara Gerber and Nancy Seale Osborne 
had found the time amongst their busy editing 
chores to tell the story of their family life together. 
Such a rich story it promises to be with a fascinat- 
ing variety of interests, backgrounds and experi- 
ences - maybe in a later issue? 

Sincerely, 

Wayne McKusick 
Rochester, N.Y. 



Dear Helen, 

I want to tell you how impressed I was with the last 
issue of The Creative Woman — I even informed 
John that I was seriously hoping to be a creative 
lesbian in my next incarnation. He looked a little 
shocked but only said, "Well, I'm glad it's not now." 

Love and Blessings, 
Maren Carpenter 
Homewood 



Dear Helen, 

I have just gone through The Creative Woman; it is 
a very good project to do. I don't know of any other 
publication (that's mainstream) to lend itself to an 
issue devoted to Lesbianism. So you've promoted 
progress in open-minded thinking. 

Love, 

Victoria Reiss 
Shady, New York 





LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 





Dear Helen: 

I want to tell you about the most important and 
exciting concept I have heard about in women's 
politics. It is an organization called EMILY's List. It 
is relatively new (founded in 1985) national organi- 
zation located in Washington, D.C. that is dedi- 
cated to finding and promoting viable pro-choice, 
democratic women candidates. EMILY stands for 
Early Money Is Like Yeast and one of its critical 
aspects is its donor network. It is through this 
network that EMILY's List is having a significant 
impact on leveling the financial aspects of the 
election playing field for women. 

It is a marvelously simple concept and it works. 
Since its inception, EMILY's List has raised over 
$2.5 million dollars for women candidates and the 
number of women in the U.S. House of Representa- 
tives has increased from 12 to 20, plus there are 
now three (almost four!) women governors. 

The bottom line is, joining EMILY's List is an 
affordable way for busy and conscientious 
women to be informed and make a difference. 



EMILY's List 

Suite 750, 1112 - 16th St., NW 
Washington, D.C. 20036 
202) 887-1957 



Betye Saar 



The Honorable Alan K. Simpson 
United States Senate 
Washington, DC 20510 

Sir: 

"Sexual Harassment Crap." 

Many of us heard you utter these words during the 
recent Judiciary Committee hearings. At first I felt a 
little sick to hear a Senator let his tongue slip to 
reveal such feelings. Then I became angry. 

I write as an elder — a professional woman who has 
not once but many times experienced job-related 
sexual harassment, and who has never "blown the 
whistle." There are thousands of us across the 
country who have had such experiences. 

Most often I chose to remain quiet because the 
harassers had families who could have been hurt. 
But equally important, I did not wish to divert time 
and effort from my work with a much-needed non- 
profit organization which I was instrumental in 
building. 

I believe Professor Anita Hill's testimony to the 
Judiciary Committee, belated or no. I hope I would 
have had the courage to speak up, had I been in her 
shoes at the hearings for an appointment to the 
Supreme Court. 

Enclosed with this letter to you, Senator Simpson, 
is a small reminder of your "sexual harassment 
crap" words. The enclosure is a fossil called 
COPROLITE. It predates by many millions of 
years the dark ages to which you seem to wish our 
country's women to return. COPROLITE is ancient 
fossilized sloth turd. Look at this small piece of 
COPROLITE then, sir, and attempt to control your 
wicked, wagging tongue. 

Very truly, 
Betty J. Ticho 
Pacific Palisades, CA 

Copies to: Members and staff, Senate Judiciary Committee; 
Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum; Senator Barbara Mikulski; 
Senator Alan Cranston; Senator John Seymour; Senator Lloyd 
M. Bentsen; Senator Robert C. Byrd; Senator Robert Dole; 
Congresswoman Barbara Boxer; Congressman Mel Levine; 
Congresswoman Pat Schroeder; Congresswoman Maxine 
Waters; Governor Ann Richards; Governor Pete Wilson; 
California State Senator Diane Watson; Friends; and Others (to 
be shared as recipients wish). 



42 





LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 





Dear Helen: 

I appreciated "Crossing the Mainstream." I read it 
cover to cover in one sitting and was grateful for it 
on several levels. Being a mainstream person 
(white, educated, middle class, wife, mother, 
grandmother, etc.) I have had scant opportunity to 
knowingly access that world. I am indebted, how- 
ever, to my lesbian clients for helping to dispel 
some misinformation I was not aware I had bought 
into. I suppose, like racism, heterosexism exists to 
some degree in all members of the 'dominant 
culture' and to the degree that we are blind to it, 
we run the risk of contributing to its perpetuation. 
It is not easy to see with new eyes. 

I was unaware, for instance, how the anguish 
following the loss of a partner is intensified by the 
lack of societal and especially legal protection 
which the mainstream takes for granted in the case 
of divorce. To my knowledge there as yet exists no 



legal redress for a noncustodial parent to obtain 
access to children for whom she may have been the 
primary caregiver. It is hard for me to imagine 
anything more painful. 

On a more positive note, it is heartening to discover 
the enormous support and caring that is possible 
from 'sisters' in both the gay and straight commu- 
nity. I found myself somehow strangely (or surpris- 
ingly!) envious of the bond which shared vulner- 
ability and 'difference' can create. 

Thanks for creating a forum for all women (and 
some men!) to express who they are and for affirm- 
ing the wondrous diversity of the human species. 



Peace, 

Julie Haverty 
Psychotherapist 
Homewood, Illinois 





ANNOUNCEMENTS 






Head of Sarah Cloyce, one of three sisters portrayed 
in the Salem Witch Trial Memorial Statue by 
Yiannis Stefanakis. 



Salem Witch Trials 300th Anniversary 

The city of Salem, Massachusetts, is currently observing 
a year-long commemoration of the 300th anniversary of 
the witch trials. Linda McConchie, Executive Director of 
the Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary, says her mission is 
to use the observance to educate the public on what 
happened in 1692 and to impart a lesson about human 
rights and tolerance. 

The Salem Witch Trial Memorial Statue shows clearly 
that women matter, that what happens to women 
matters, and that witch hunts must end. 

Support the Salem Witch Trial Memorial Statue in 
Salem, Massachusetts. Donations are tax deductible. 
Make checks payable to "Witch Trial Memorial Fund" 
and mail to: 

Ann Forfreedom 
Institute for Feminist Studies 
1005 Market St., Suite 305 
San Francisco, CA 94103 
415/621-4220 



43 





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44 





GUEST EDITORIAL 





AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE 
SAFETY PROBLEM: 
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 

Riane Eisler 

For many Americans, the Thomas hearings were a 
clear sign that something is wrong with a "demo- 
cratic" system in which only two out of one hun- 
dred Senators (two percent) are women. Now the 
William Kennedy Smith rape trial dramatically 
exposes the same fundamental injustice in our 
judicial system. For what we have here — in a 
violent crime where, by legal definition, the plain- 
tiff is female and the defendant is male — is a legal 
process completely different from the usual inquiry 
into the guilt or innocence of a defendant. 

In no other legal proceeding do plaintiffs have to 
overcome a presumption that they somehow 
"consented to" or even "provoked" the crime. For 
example, when people are mugged and robbed, 
they are not expected to show they didn't "ask for 
it" by "being in the wrong place at the wrong 
time," or that they were not overly "provocative" 
by wearing an expensive ring or watch. And they 
are certainly not expected to prove that they fought 
against the attacker, for it is understood and ac- 
cepted that not resisting through fear of greater 
injury is not a matter of consent but of duress. 

In no other trials (including those where there are 
no other witnesses besides the victim, and even 
those where the accused faces the death penalty) 
would a judge countenance a defense in which the 
accuser is grilled for ten hours on such matters as 
motive and truthfulness, much less badgered hour 
after hour with questions designed to make him or 
her relive the trauma of the attack. 

In no other proceeding is there such a built-in 
suspicion of the accuser. In no other case except a 
crime of violence against women do we find an 
inquiry, indeed an inquisition, where the prime 
suspect somehow becomes the accuser rather than 
the accused. In short, what we have here is the only 
judicial process where the tables are completely 




Representative Barbara Boxer (D, California), co-author of the 
Violence against Women Act. 



turned, where the trial of an accused effectively 
becomes the trial of the accuser. 

Why, we must ask, is our judicial system so suspi- 
cious of women? We rightly view with astonish- 
ment and horror societies where, as in Moslem 
fundamentalist countries, a man's testimony is by 
law considered equal to the testimony of two 
women. But how different really are we? And why 
are so many of us still blind to this judicial double 
standard? 

Then there is something else that we have been 
blind to far too long: the prejudice built into our 
judicial system against ways of communicating that 
are stereotypically labeled feminine. When the 
woman testifying against Smith was crying in pain 
after all those hours she was forced by the prosecu- 
tion to retell, detail by detail, her traumatic experi- 
ence, she was instructed by the judge (in this case 
herself a woman) that her crying was out of order, 
that "there's just a certain amount of emotional 
display we're allowed to have." 



What kind of legal system is this that is so suspi- 
cious of human feelings — that calls their expression 
"an emotional display?" Surely it is time that we 
change a system that is so biased that it even tries 
to suppress the authentic human reaction to injus- 
tice and pain of women (who unlike men are not 
trained to despise and suppress their "soft" emo- 
tions), as well as that of sensitive, non-macho men. 

There is now in Congress a bill that can help us do 
this. The bill is the Violence Against Women Act 

introduced by Senator Joseph Biden and Represen- 
tative Barbara Boxer. It is the first attempt to com- 
prehensively deal with what is in fact America's 
number one safety problem: violence against 
women. Specifically, it contains provisions to not 
only make our homes and streets safer for women, 
but to train state and federal judges to provide, in 
the words of the bill, "equal justice for women." 



By writing our Senators and Representatives to 
support the Violence Against Women Act, we can 
get it passed. And by voting out of office in No- 
vember 1992 those who oppose it, we can hold 
accountable those who truly do not represent us, 
who continue to be blind — as well as deaf and 
dumb — when it comes to the rights, needs, and 
even safety, of the female half of our nation, who 
are actually the numerical majority. 

Riane Eisler is an attorney, best known as the author of The 
Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future (Harper & Row, 
1987) a fundamental reexamination of Western culture which 
has been translated into many languages, including Russian, 
Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German, and French. She is co- 
founder of the Center for Partnership Studies, has taught at 
UCLA and Immaculate Heart College and is a member of the 
General Evolution Research Group. 



CORRECTION 



Linda Bubon's review of Bi Any Other Name, 
in our Fall 1991 issue, first appeared in 
Outlines, August 1991. We regret this 
oversight. 



46 



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